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 Sevilla | La Liga GW 26
As one of the few teams that managed to take a point off Real Madrid in the first half of the season, Rayo Vallecano was seen as a dangerous opponent as Los Blancos prepared for matchday 25 of La Liga.
True to the expectation, the visitors gave Real Madrid a run for their money and managed to salvage a draw once more.
Matchday 26, thus, presents yet another steep challenge for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. The men in white lock horns with Sevilla, one of the few other teams that managed to hold them to a draw in their previous encounter.
It has not been an easy season for Los Nervionenses as they linger in 15th place after 25 games. However, they have shown time and time again that they have resilience and they will trouble the Merengues without a doubt.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Sevilla.
An emotional, yet emotion-less affair
The one headline flooding the news ahead of Real Madrid’s clash against Sevilla this weekend is about Sergio Ramos. The former Real Madrid captain faced Los Blancos earlier this season at Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and showed that he still had it in him to play at the top level, but tomorrow’s clash will be special for reasons beyond the sporting sense.
The Spanish superstar captained one of the Merengues’ greatest units in history and saw them make their way to back-to-back titles for years. His departure from the club, however, was almost anti-climactic as he left as a free agent in 2021.
Tomorrow night will be the first time the club legend steps foot on the grasses of the Santiago Bernabeu since his departure. A return to the stadium he once called home can only be described as an emotional affair.
Moreover, the club administration have even arranged for a small emotional tribute to the player who took them to great heights in the last decade, amplifying the sense of nostalgia.
Concurrently, however, both Ramos and Real Madrid are fiercely competitive and do not see nostalgia as any reason for sympathy. Once the referee blows the whistle, there will be no love lost between the two parties.
Real Madrid will be forced to go up against the monster they created, while Ramos will be equally motivated to show the management what they lost by passing on him. In either case, the game will be driven by passion and will not be affected one bit by the background story.
Two suspensions, one return
In addition to his long list of injuries, Carlo Ancelotti has a new factor to consider before deploying his starting XI on Sunday night. After all, two players are out through suspension – Dani Carvajal and Eduardo Camavinga.
The Spanish veteran was sent off in Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw against Rayo Vallecano and will be unavailable to start on the night at right-back. Ancelotti will turn towards Lucas Vazquez to cover the void on the night, but it is clear that Carvajal will be missed.
The second player unavailable on the night, Eduardo Camavinga, is once again replaceable, now that Antonio Rudiger is back fit and ready to feature.
The German maestro has missed three weeks of action through injury but has made a comeback. His availability on the night would enable Aurelien Tchouameni to play as the pivot, effectively covering for Camavinga’s absence.
Going up against Sevilla, one of the few teams to have stolen points from Real Madrid this season, Carlo Ancelotti will be without the services of two key attackers.
Jude Bellingham will continue to be unavailable on the night as he recovers from his recent blow. The Englishman has made good progress so far, but it is still sizeably away from a return.
Joselu, meanwhile, was confirmed to be suffering from bone edema and is expected to be out for at least three weeks. The combination of the two absences leaves Ancelotti with only three viable attacking options – Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo Goes, and Brahim Diaz.
The Spanish-Moroccan star is expected to slot into Bellingham’s position, for it is his niche on the field while the two Brazilians will start up front as the two forwards. As revealed yesterday, the situation also opens the door for Arda Guler.
Ancelotti sees Guler as a player capable of making a difference as a forward and will thus count on him more often in the coming days. With all forward options likely to start, the Turkish phenom could begin to enjoy more prominence as a substitute tomorrow against Sevilla.
There have been talks around a possible loan involving Guler in recent weeks, and the coming games could just be his best bet to prove his worth and establish his presence under the manager.