Real Madrid moved back to the top of the La Liga standings with a hard-fought 2-1 win in the derby against Atletico Madrid. While Los Rojiblancos put up strong resistance early on, they completely crumbled later in the game.
There are only positives to take away for Los Blancos as they continue their nine-game unbeaten streak across all competitions. However, questions have to be asked about Atleti’s subpar performance despite a late fightback and Diego Simeone has a lot to think about in the upcoming international break.
Madrid Universal brings you the player ratings for both sides from the derby on Sunday.
Thibaut Courtois: 5.5
The Belgian was far from his best upon his return to the Civitas Metropolitano. Unnecessarily gave up what would have been the team’s first clean sheet of the league season with sloppy decision-making.
Ferland Mendy: 7
The left-back was resolute and solid in defence but lacked the X-factor in the final third. Nevertheless, did well to keep the likes of Marcos Llorente subdued on the night.
David Alaba: 7
The Austrian international did not do much wrong defensively, at the same time, did nothing extraordinary. Was not tested by Simeone’s side for most of the game.
Eder Militao: 8
Back from injury and back with a bang. Militao once again showed why he is so critical to Ancelotti’s plans and above the likes of Antonio Rudiger in the pecking order.
Dani Carvajal: 8
A defensive masterclass from Real Madrid’s veteran right-back as he schooled Atletico’s forwards in their own backyard. He finished with three interceptions, two tackles, one blocked shot, one clearance and five duels won.
Toni Kroos: 7.5
Once again, Kroos was the silent link that held Real Madrid’s structure together throughout the game. He recorded a pass completion rate of 93% against Atleti and completed seven out of seven attempted long balls.
Aurelien Tchouameni: 9
What a signing this young midfielder is turning out to be for Real Madrid. On Sunday night once again, he seemed to be everywhere on the field and topped off his performance with a lovely lobbed assist for the team’s opening goal.
Luka Modric: 7.5
The Croatian is ageing like fine wine and he once again ran Los Blancos’ midfield at the Metropolitano. In his 82 minutes on the field, he made two key passes and created one big chance.
Vinicius Jr: 7
The Brazilian was at the heart of Real Madrid’s second goal which was only made possible through his dribble into the box. However, he was very quiet in the latter part of the game.
Federico Valverde: 8
The Uruguayan was a machine in Atletico’s half, winning back balls and steamrolling them forward. His goal was the perfect cherry on the cake.
Rodrygo Goes: 9
With every game, the 21-year-old Brazilian is making a stronger and stronger case to be a regular starter under Ancelotti. He scored Real Madrid’s opener with a calm, yet rock-solid finish and was a constant threat in the final third.
Antonio Rudiger: 6.5
Did well to cover at left-back for the final 15 minutes but was clearly out of position.
Eduardo Camavinga: N/A
Played only eight minutes, does not warrant a rating.
Marco Asensio: N/A
Came on only for the final four minutes.
Dani Ceballos: N/A
Played less than five minutes after coming on for Rodrygo.
Jan Oblak: 4.5
Faced three shots, saved one and conceded two.
Made clear errors in defence but still was the best Atletico defender on the night. Had a couple of good chances in front of the goal but squandered them.
Axel Witsel: 5.5
The Belgian is not a natural centre-back and his latest performance was a testament to that. Made only three defensive contributions over the 90 minutes, but completed 100% of his passes attempted.
Came under severe pressure as he had to face the brunt of not only Daniel Carvajal but Luka Modric and Federico Valverde too.
Marcos Llorente: 6
Neither a complete defensive performance nor a free-flowing display in attack. The Spaniard completed a clearance, three interceptions, a tackle and won four duels
On a historic night for him personally, as he became the player with the joint-highest appearances for the club, Koke was one of Atletico’s better performers on the night and led by example. Made two key passes and nine defensive actions.
Geoffrey Kondogbia: 5.5
Struggled to contain Real Madrid’s potent midfield trio and spent most of the time running behind the ball in the hope of making a rare recovery.
Rodrigo De Paul: 7
Was one of the few good players on the field for Los Rojiblancos and put in a positive shift going forward. Completed six dribbles on the night with a 100% completion rate.
Yannick Carrasco: 5
The Belgian looked pocketed on the night and struggled to pose a threat in front of goal. Moreover, he just completed 18 passes in 72 minutes.
Joao Felix: 2
It would require great focus and extra effort to spot Felix on the field against Real Madrid for the Portuguese international wore an invisibility cloak for the entire hour he spent on the field.
Antoine Griezmann: 7.5
Made his first start for the team this season and showed great promise. The Frenchman was a constant threat in and around the box and made three key passes in addition to his shot on target.
Matheus Cunha: 4
Came on for 30 minutes as a striker but failed to take a single shot and saw just ten touches.
Alvaro Morata: 4.5
Similar to Cunha, Morata had nothing to show for after his thirty-minute cameo.
Mario Hermoso: 6
For the second time in a month, Hermoso went from hero to zero in minutes. He scored Atletico’s only goal of the night but got himself sent off just six minutes later.
Angel Correa: N/A
No significant contribution.
Saul Niguez: N/A
Played just nine minutes, does not warrant a rating.
Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Osasuna
After a two-week hiatus from club football, Real Madrid return to action on Sunday night in a home game against Osasuna. The league leaders have been unstoppable so far this season, and the objective at the Bernabeu will be to keep their fine form going.
Jagoba Arrasate’s side have enjoyed a positive start to the season with four wins in six games so far. The Pamplona-based side sit sixth in the league standings ahead of the likes of Villarreal and Atletico Madrid.
Carlo Ancelotti will make several changes in his starting lineup on the night – some forced and some out of choice. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Los Blancos’ weekend clash.
1. Time to kick in the nitros
Real Madrid have been flawless this season and are the only club in the European top-flight to have not dropped a single point. While their start to the season has been nothing short of a fairytale, one wonders how long they can keep the magical streak going.
The month of October brings with it one of the most hectic schedules the club has seen in recent years. Over the next 30 days, Los Blancos play nine games across all competitions. In short, the equation boils down to a game every three days.
To come out on top in all nine games will require a superhuman effort from the Real Madrid players, but one knows well that the squad is capable of it. The team are in a strong headspace, and injecting the right amount of fuel at this point could propel their throttle and see them weather the storm.
A job well begun is half done, and Carlo Ancelotti will hope that his men can make a strong start to the month on Sunday night.
2. Coping without Modric
The FIFA International break has been cruel to clubs across the globe, with several key players returning injured and facing several weeks on the sidelines. The story for Real Madrid is no different.
Luka Modric played every minute of Croatia’s two friendlies in the last two weeks and even scored a goal in their 3-1 win over Austria. However, he suffered an injury to his hip and faces 8-10 days on the sidelines.
The veteran, at 37 years of age, has arguably been Real Madrid’s best player this season. In eight games, he has scored two goals and provided one assist for Los Blancos and continues to show the world why he is one of the best the game has seen.
Modric is expected to return for the Clasico in two weeks. However, one cannot help but wonder how Ancelotti compensates for such a big void.
It has been reported that the manager sees Dani Ceballos as the ideal man for the job. The 26-year-old impressed when given the start against Mallorca earlier this season, making four key passes and bagging one assist. Now, he could have his moment and a chance to prove his worth to the manager.
In Modric’s absence, Ceballos could start alongside Aurelien Tchouameni and Toni Kroos in the middle of the park. With Eduardo Camavinga quickly climbing up the pecking order, the 26-year-old must make the most of his chance on Sunday to secure a place in the coming games.
3. The return of the gladiator
After a slow start to the season, Karim Benzema bounced back with a brace against Espanyol on Matchday three. Just when it seemed like he had found his stride, however, he suffered a thigh injury and was ruled out for close to three weeks.
While the team found alternate sources of goals in his absence, it was clear that Los Blancos lacked a dominant presence in the box in recent weeks. With Benzema’s recovery close to complete, all eyes will be on him to see if he can find his feet again.
In his pre-match press conference, Ancelotti confirmed that the French international would start on Sunday though it is unlikely that he will play all 90 minutes. Nevertheless, this comes as a big relief to Real Madrid, given that they have no natural replacement for the centre-forward.
The captain will look to make a statement on his return on Sunday and will likely be deployed alongside Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo.