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Real Madrid 3-1 Manchester City: Player Ratings



Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid have, somehow, once again, done the impossible. After trailing against Manchester City courtesy of a goal from Riyad Mahrez in the 73rd minute, a heroic brace from Rodrygo took the clash to extra-time.

Karim Benzema was handed the opportunity to take the lead on the golden platter by Ruben Dias, who made a clumsy challenge. The Frenchman calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner.

With Carlo Ancelotti in the Champions League finals once again, we run the rule over their performance from tonight.

Thibaut Courtois: 9.5

Game-winner, game-changer, and inarguably one of the best in his position in the world. Courtois made eight saves, including three absolute worldies, to keep Madrid in the game.

Daniel Carvajal: 7

Was troubled by Foden and Jesus but did well to keep his composure till the final whistle was blown. Unlucky to not walk out with an assist.

Eder Militao: 7

Militao, much like Carvajal, had trouble against Man City’s break, but made some clutch challenges in their defensive third, especially one against Foden in extra time.

Nacho Fernandez: 9

Filling in for David Alaba, Nacho was utterly sensational. He was often the last man defending and was called into action several times against a fresh Raheem Sterling. Did not disappoint.

Ferland Mendy: 7

Not much can be made of Mendy’s performance; he should perhaps have done better to mark Mahrez for the goal, but other than that, he did well to hold the fort on the left.

Casemiro: 6

Way too clumsy in the opening minutes, could have easily been sent off on another day. Was sent to the shops defending against Bernardo Silva too often.

Toni Kroos: 6

Playing as part of a double pivot, Kroos had too many defensive duties to influence the game as he would have liked to.

Federico Valverde: 7.5

Valverde, as one would expect, ran the length of the pitch multiple times over till the final whistle blew. Was instrumental to Madrid’s defensive shape.

Luka Modric: 6.5

Another part of the Madrid midfield that struggled to cope against Bernardo Silva and Rodri. Did well to press every single opposition, though.

Vinicius Jr: 7

Kyle Walker was tremendous against Vinicius, and did not give him an ounce of space. However, once he was subbed off, the Brazilian had a lot of space to carry the ball and did his job well.

Karim Benzema: 8.5

Eventually, the game-winner, as he has been oh-so-often this season, Benzema cannot be faulted for this game. Won the penalty, created a number of chances, and ran the attack.


Rodrygo: 9.5

Rodrygo’s rise to fame as Madrid’s cult hero has been sensational, and we saw much of the same tonight as the Brazilian scored two goals in two minutes after the 90th minute. Super sub, if there ever was one.

Eduardo Camavinga: 10

Inarguably Madrid’s best performer on the night, Camavinga came on to unbelievable impact. He essentially created the equaliser, and was omnipresent defensively. Pretty much ended Bernardo’s rule of the midfield single-handedly.

Marco Asensio: 7

While Asensio’s impact was nowhere close to that of Rodrygo, he got the assist for the header, and has to be credited for the same.

Dani Ceballos: 7

Came on to help see the game out in midfield, and was successful.

Lucas Vazquez: N/A

Came on to help see the game out, did not participate enough to warrant a rating.

Jesus Vallejo: N/A

Replaced the injured Militao, did not participate enough to warrant a rating.

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Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia



Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

For all the institutional and sporting catastrophes Valencia suffer from, they put up a resilient show against Real Madrid last month and held them to a draw in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup.

Having fired Gennaro Gattuso less than 48 hours ago, Los Che will be under the command of an interim coach at Santiago Bernabeu in the hope of repeating their feat from Saudi Arabia.

After all, they are struggling this season with just 20 points in 18 league appearances.

Valencia may not be the top team it used to be a couple of seasons ago, but there is a fighting spirit to the squad that makes them special.

As Real Madrid looks to make amends for their dropped points against La Real, some important considerations cross the manager’s mind regarding the clash against Los Che.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia.

1. More names at Ancelotti’s disposal

Real Madrid’s long injury list has been a thorn in Carlo Ancelotti’s feet for a long time now. While the manager has had close to five players unavailable through fitness concerns, two names were considered irreplaceable.

Daniel Carvajal is the first on that list. The Spanish International’s presence gave the club hope after Lucas Vazquez’s injury last month, but almost as if planned, the 30-year-old immediately suffered a blow in training and was forced to sit out.

For four games, Ancelotti was thus forced to field Nacho Fernandez as his right-back. The centre-back did a good job at covering out of position, however, will be pushed back to the bench on Thursday as Los Blancos celebrate the return of Carvajal.

The defender is not the only one making his way back, as Aurelien Tchouameni also received the medical all-clear earlier this week.

The French pivot hobbled off an hour into Real Madrid’s league clash against Villarreal in the first week of January and has been sidelined for close to a month.

His absence pushed his coach to try numerous permutations in midfield, but it was finally Eduardo Camavinga who stamped his authority on the position.

With Tchouameni back roaring, his place in the starting lineup seems to be written in stone. One can expect the Frenchman to be deployed alongside Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos for his return to action on Thursday.

2. Concern shifts from right to left-back

The Merengues will finally have a natural right-back available to play against Valencia midweek. However, that does not signal the end of the Italian tactician’s trouble-riddles period.

Just when one full-back position returned to a state of normalcy, Real Madrid now have a crisis at left-back.

Ferland Mendy picked up a thigh injury earlier this week and will miss the team’s next two months of action at least. To say that this is a big blow to the club’s plans would be an understatement, for Mendy was the only natural left-back available in the squad.

David Alaba would appear to be the best-placed alternative, but the Austrian is ruled out through injury himself. Placed at a lack of options, Ancelotti confirmed in his press conference earlier today that Eduardo Camavinga would play there against Valencia.

The youngster has played in the defensive position earlier but will face the heat going up against Jose Luis Gaya at Santiago Bernabeu.

Given that Valencia’s right flank put up a memorable display when the two teams met last month, one can be certain that Camavinga’s performance can make or break Real Madrid’s night.

3. No margin for error

Less than halfway through the league season, Los Blancos already find themselves five points behind Barcelona. The wide gap is not a consequence of the defending champions’ poor form but the sheer consistency of Xavi Hernandez’s men, who cannot stop winning.

Having won the Supercopa de Espana last month, the Catalans are currently riding high on confidence. With their season heading from strength to strength, Real Madrid must hold on and wait for the right opportunity to topple the tables.

The Galacticos‘ draw against Real Sociedad added two points to the gap between the top two sides last week. At this stage, Ancelotti’s men cannot afford any further slip-ups for a larger gap would be too much for the men in white to compensate.

Every game henceforth will be a final for Real Madrid in La Liga. Three points are the bare minimum the club can walk away with from any fixture, and that mission will start from their game against Valencia.

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