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Girona 0-3 Real Madrid: Player Ratings

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Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

In what was a battle for the top spot in La Liga, Real Madrid were pushed to the edge and tested by Girona at Estadi Montilivi today, yet walked away with all three points after a comprehensive display.

First-half goals from Joselu and Aurelien Tchouameni placed the men in white in a comfortable situation before Jude Bellingham sealed the game with a third goal in the second half.

Madrid Universal brings you the player ratings from the game that brings Real Madrid back to the top of the league table.

Kepa Arrizabalaga: 7

The Spanish shot-stopper looked nervy in Girona’s early attacks down the centre but regained his mojo as the minutes passed. Made vital saves through Girona’s inspired second-half display.

Dani Carvajal: 6

Made his first start coming back from injury and had a low-profile first-half performance. The right-back stuck to the basics and did not try anything too fancy.

Antonio Rudiger: 7

The German centre-back was under pressure in the opening ten minutes when Girona created chance after chance in succession. Came back to thrive under the pressure, although the night was far from easy for him.

Nacho Fernandez: 6

The club captain slotted in at centre-back in the absence of the injured David Alaba in the starting lineup and did well to operate with Rudiger.

His distribution was impeccable, as were his long balls, until he was sent off late in the game for a poor challenge on Portu, giving selection problems to Carlo Ancelotti.

Eduardo Camavinga: 7.5

Ancelotti vowed to not use Eduardo Camavinga at left-back again after last season. That oath was broken on Saturday when the manager chose the Frenchman as his left-back over Fran Garcia and Ferland Mendy.

The youngster, though, did not disappoint, as he was stellar in defence and a crucial part of the team’s pressing structure off the ball.

Aurelien Tchouameni: 8

Off the mark for Real Madrid. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Tchouameni’s importance at Real Madrid only grows with every passing game. The French international was at the centre of every Real Madrid attack and was enormous on a night when Girona refused to give up.

He scored Real Madrid’s second goal on the night with a thunderous header past Paulo Gazzaniga in the 21st minute. Daley Blind’s lousy marking enabled him to venture free for Kroos’ corner, and the youngster made no distance from point-blank range.

Toni Kroos: 8

Reports of Kroos’ dissatisfaction at Real Madrid surfaced in recent days. Yet, the player showed none of his frustration at Estadi Montilivi.

Kroos was the soul of Real Madrid’s midfield today, involved in every buildup and opening up Girona’s attack on the break. He assisted Tchouameni’s goal in the 21st minute with perfect setpiece execution.

Federico Valverde: 7

Silent, yet essential. Valverde may not be the same goalscoring threat as last season in the new system, but his ability to circulate the ball and contribute to the press is an essential underlying part of Los Blancos’ tactics.

Jude Bellingham: 9

After a deserved rest against Las Palmas, Bellingham was back in action for the Merengues’ game at Montilivi.

The attacking midfielder required just over 15 minutes to weave his magic at the stadium, as he wonderfully unravelled Girona’s defence to assist Joselu’s opener with a Luka Modric-esque trivela pass from the outside of his boot.

He was once again at the heart of the team’s third goal, both creating the chance and scoring it with a finisher’s instinct.

Stars. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

Joselu: 8

Minimally involved in the play, maximally effective in front of goal. Joselu’s performance against the Catalans had everything a manager could ask of a number nine.

The Spaniard scored Real Madrid’s opening goal of the night in just the 17th minute. Receiving Bellingham’s sumptuous ball, he fired the ball past Gazzaniga with a reflex finish. He then set up the third for the Englishman.

Vinicius Jr: 7.5

The Brazilian phenom may not be the biggest fan of the new system, but he is improving in his new role with every passing game.

Vini Jr. was on-point with his dribbles on the evening, creating openings and providing key passes for fun. Led Real Madrid’s counterattacks time and time again.

SUBSTITUTES

Rodrygo Goes: 6

Did not contribute much after coming on. Came close to scoring a late solo goal in the 88th minute.

Dani Ceballos: 6.5

Put in a good defensive shift to preserve Real Madrid’s clean sheet.

Lucas Vazquez: NA

Came on too late to make a tangible impact.

Brahim Diaz: NA

Came on too late to make a tangible impact.

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Features

Five players who will be fixed starters for Real Madrid next season

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Following a successful campaign, Real Madrid are poised for significant changes in their roster due to a combination of player arrivals and departures.

The responsibility of blending new faces with established stars will fall to coach Carlo Ancelotti and his staff as they aim to maintain the club’s competitive edge domestically and in Europe.

And to predict the team’s probable strategy and performance amidst these changes, it is imperative to identify the key players who will be constant starters.

Kylian Mbappe

The new talisman. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

With Real Madrid no longer viewing Mbappe through rose-tinted lenses and finally being able to dress him in the royal white jersey, the Frenchman is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Owing to his instinctive nature to find the back of the net, he is poised to be paired alongside Vinicius Jr. in attack.

Last season, the 2018 World Cup winner scored a whopping 44 goals in all competitions. Thus Real Madrid will be banking heavily on Mbappe’s ability to ask questions of opposition defenders in the final third.

It is being said that Mbappe is all set to wear the iconic number 9 jersey at Real Madrid, which is indicative of the role he will play, as a focal striker.

Vinicius Jr.

The main man at Real Madrid. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Brazilian is in pole position to win the Ballon d’Or this year, and looking back on his season with Real Madrid, it is easy to see why.

Despite losing Karim Benzema, his usual partner in crime over the past few years, Vinicius performed remarkably well in Ancelotti’s new system.

Relentlessly taking on defenders, arriving into space, scoring goals, and stepping up in the biggest of moments, he was one of Real Madrid’s major lynchpins throughout the season as they lifted a historic double.

Vinicius impressively racked up 24 goals last season, and given his importance to the team, the likelihood of him not maintaining a starting role next season is nearly nonexistent.

Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid Fans’ Player of the Season. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Defying all expectations in his debut season, Jude Bellingham established himself as a key player for Real Madrid, demonstrating exceptional versatility, and maturity far beyond his years.

Although the Englishman’s performances wavered in the final stretch of the season, Bellingham’s contributions ensured Los Blancos were able to compete in the Champions League and especially La Liga.

In addition to scoring 23 goals in all competitions, he has constantly been a beacon of reliability in midfield and has proven to be the voice of reason on the pitch.

There have been murmurs about Bellingham potentially being berthed deeper next season as Real Madrid intends to use him as Kroos’ replacement. However, given his versatility, he is expected to be a crucial player wherever he plays.

Antonio Rudiger

A mainstay at the back. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Rudiger is one of the major reasons Real Madrid managed to successfully disguise their injury crisis. Despite players falling like dominos in the back-line, the German stood resolutely as a dependable figure for most of the campaign, arguably enjoying one of his best seasons.

Expertly anticipating opposition strikers’ movements, he leaps forward to thwart attacks before they begin. Moreover, thanks to his large stature and incredible recovery pace, he is able to cover distances behind.

Reports have mentioned that Carlo Ancelotti views him as a crucial component of the squad and potential arrivals, such as those of Leny Yoro and Rafa Marin, in the back-line are unlikely to devalue his presence.

Thibaut Courtois

Back like he was never gone. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

In spite of spending more than half of the campaign on the sidelines recovering from an ACL and MCL injury, Courtois is worth his weight in gold for Real Madrid.

He performed admirably in the final few games of the season and did no wrong against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final.

While Andriy Lunin made up for his absence with flying colours, he is placed below Courtois in the pecking order for now, which also has made the Ukrainian lean towards an exit.

The fact that Lunin, after his sublime season, stands no chance of dethroning Courtois between the sticks is a testament to how much the club appreciates the Belgian. Even at the age of 32, the Belgian keeper is anticipated to retain an important role in the team.

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