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SOCCER

Real Madrid player ratings in Vegas Clásico defeat to Barcelona

Thibaut Courtois picked up where he left off last season in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Barça, but centre-backs Éder Militão and David Alaba looked like they were still on the beach.

Update:
Boletos para el Real Madrid vs Barcelona en el AT&T Stadium alcanzan precios de hasta 3000 dólares
Stephen R. SylvanieUSA TODAY Sports

Thibaut Courtois

Courtois picked up where he left off last season, showing that he’s the best goalkeeper in the world. He could do nothing about Raphinha’s goal, but successfully intervened to snuff out another moment of danger involving the Brazilian. Also kept out a very clear opportunity for Franck Kessié with quarter of an hour or so to go in the second half. That Kessíe chance looked like making it 2-0 to Barça - as did two close-range efforts from Ousmane Dembélé in the final five minutes. The Belgian stopped them, too. Immense.

Lucas Vázquez

An unexpected starter due to Dani Carvajal’s absence with a sprained ankle, Vázquez was just about good enough in Las Vegas, but he played with fire when a poor piece of chest control allowed Memphis Depay to nip in ahead of him, almost costing Madrid a penalty. The referee awarded a foul just outside the area, however.

Éder Militão

One of the most uncertain performers in Real Madrid’s opening summer warm-up, Militão gave the kind of display that had characterised his run-in last season. His major error left the ball on a plate for Brazil colleague Raphinha to punish Madrid with a left-footed shot that made it 1-0.

David Alaba

The Austrian continued in the same role as last season, at centre-back - and, surprisingly, began the Clásico looking like the weak link in the Real Madrid defence. He twice committed errors that could have cost Madrid a goal. Like Militão, he looks like he’s still on his summer holidays.

Antonio Rüdiger

Ancelotti had tried it out on the training ground on Friday, and wasn’t bluffing: for the first time, the German was deployed at left back. He fulfilled his role with no little aplomb, going toe-to-toe in a heavyweight battle with Barcelona’s Ronald Araújo. First in a spectacular footrace, then in a melée just before the break. Pure personality.

Aurelien Tchouaméni

Another signing that Ancelotti decided to put to the test right away against Barça. The Italian wants to get the young Frenchman learning quickly to be the shield in front of the defence. His presence did not serve to alleviate Madrid’s major problem in the first half: they just could not deal with Barcelona’s high press.

Eduardo Camavinga

He was Madrid’s sharpest midfielder early on, although his mistake when trying to turn in his own area almost cost Los Blancos a goal. Thankfully for Camavinga, Ansu Fati shot off target. Despite that blot on his copybook, it’s clear that he’s a player whose influence at Madrid is growing all the time.

Fede Valverde

He had the first big chance of the Clásico, but his powerful right-footed effort from outside the area thundered back off the Barcelona woodwork. The Uruguayan needs to unleash his shot more often; he has goals in his right boot, if he’d just loosen the shackles a little bit.

Vinícius Júnior

Vinícius had to wait until close to half time before coming up with a moment reminiscent of the player that exploded into life last year. His long, slaloming run forward was halted by fouls by Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, their challenges prompting tempers to flare and a fracas to ensue. That moment aside, Vinícius was erratic. He was very clearly far from full sharpness.

Eden Hazard

Ancelotti’s reluctance to risk Karim Benzema allowed the Italian to continue his experiment of fielding Hazard as a false nine, having tried the Belgian out in the role on the training ground in Madrid and Los Angeles. Thus far, it has borne little fruit; Hazard was innocuous in the Clásico.

Operating as a false nine, Real Madrid's Eden Hazard had little impact in Saturday's Clásico defeat.
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Operating as a false nine, Real Madrid's Eden Hazard had little impact in Saturday's Clásico defeat.Stephen R. SylvanieUSA TODAY Sports

Rodrygo Goes

Active but not very productive, he even tried his luck from a direct free kick. The point at which he most made his presence felt was in the melée after the foul on Vinícius, the 21-year-old clashing with Busquets.

Substitutes:

Luka Modric

One of Ancelotti’s six substitutions at the break. He allowed Madrid to look more like their true selves. Was on the receiving end of a Busquets foul that could have done him significant damage.

Casemiro

The Brazilian brought some calm and positional control in the Madrid engine room, but it’s not like he had all that much more of an impact at anchorman than Tchouaméni.

Toni Kroos

Kroos came on with Modric and Casemiro as Ancelotti restored Madrid’s age-old midfield trio, but the German didn’t have a hugely noticeable influence on the game. This season, a campaign which is key to his future, he will have more competition than ever.

Marco Asensio

Asensio had a golden opportunity to equalise in the 55th minute, but had to hit Hazard’s lay-off with his weaker right foot, and scuffed his effort off target. He has a lot to prove this summer...

See also:

Nacho

Came on as captain, a reflection of the fact that he is beginning his 21st year as a Real Madrid footballer. Although yet more competition has arrived in the shape of Rüdiger, you’d expect Nacho to find a way to earn game time.

Ferland Mendy

His introduction returned the defence to a more orthodox system, with an out-and-out left-back at number three. Physically, he is still not close to being able to start, and the club want him to get into shape and strengthen the muscles in his left leg little by little.

Jesús Vallejo

Came on for Militão in the 60th minute and had to resist Barcelona’s final onslaught as best he could, as Courtois’ heroics kept the Catalans at bay.

Mariano Díaz

Offered his usual physical potency, but to little effect.

Dani Ceballos

Tried to play on the front foot and dominate possession on the left-hand side of the midfield, but by then his colleagues in attack were perhaps not the right ones to capitalise on his abilities. Like Asensio, he’ll be under the microscope this summer.

Álvaro Odriozola

Introduced in the 70th minute for Vázquez, he looked nervous and insecure. His role remains the same: third-choice right-back... and he shouldn’t rest on his laurels, because Castilla’s Vinícius Tobías is pushing hard this preseason.