Al-Awwal Stadium had a special night in store for Real Madrid on Sunday night. A night filled with ecstasy, passion and the team’s wildest dreams.
Los Blancos were never going to have it easy in the finale against Barcelona. Yet, the scoreline says it all about the game that unfolded in Riyadh last night.
Real Madrid climbed on from one joy to another, inflicting blow upon blow on Xavi’s Barcelona. In the end, they were not only three goals but also a man over their opponents.
Vinicius Jr opened the scoring early against Barcelona after the Catalan defence dysfunctionally shut down. Before the clock struck ten minutes, the Brazilian completed his brace.
Robert Lewandowski pulled one back for Barcelona midway through the first period but Vinicius restored Real Madrid’s cushion and completed his hat-trick before the mid-game hiatus. Rodrygo’s goal after the break only rubbed salt into Barcelona’s wounds.
Madrid Universal brings you the player ratings from Real Madrid 4-1 Barcelona.
Andriy Lunin: 8
Took Kepa’s place on the night and showed the manager why he clearly is the stronger contender for a starting spot at the moment. Made five big saves on the night, including a massive save to deny Joao Felix in the 80th minute.
Daniel Carvajal: 8
Followed up his man-of-the-match performance in the semifinal with a stunner in the finale. For the second time in as many games, the right-back simply oozed class in both defence and offence. Led the counters on one front while also making critical defensive contributions and a clearance off the line at the home end.
Antonio Rudiger: 7.5
Did not have a whole lot of defending to do but carried out his duties to perfection. Slightly lacked in his distribution when compared to his partner, but that is a very trivial complaint in an otherwise well-rounded game.
Nacho Fernandez: 8
Clean in possession, smooth distribution and no-nonsense defending. A captain’s performance worthy of his first silverware as the leader of the club.
Ferland Mendy: 7
Going head-to-head against Ferran Torres, the French full-back had little to no role in attack in the final. His role in holding off the Catalan attack and securing the fortress, however, cannot be understated.
Federico Valverde: 7
A true warrior on the field, Valverde was fundamental to Real Madrid’s win in many ways. A strong force in the buildup and tireless off the ball, his recoveries kept the Merengues in control of the game.
Aurelien Tchouameni: 7.5
Solid, reliable and once again on the money. Tchouameni’s consistency this season has rightfully made him a regular in Real Madrid’s plan and his display on Sunday showed exactly why.
Toni Kroos: 8
With the stadium once again cutting him no slack, Toni Kroos showed the world how to remain thick-skinned to such adversity and continue churning out a clinic. His accuracy both in passes and long balls was off the charts while his circulation served as Real Madrid’s primary lifeline as always.
Jude Bellingham: 8.5
The man-of-the-match from the last Clasico was once again on point for Real Madrid, playing as an advanced midfielder. His presence was critical to the team’s early decisive breaks, and he even registered an assist for the team’s opener against Barcelona.
Rodrygo may not have got on the scoreboard in the first half, but he silently orchestrated Real Madrid’s attacks. His combination with Vini Jr and Bellingham was the binding factor that led to Los Blancos’ early inroads on the night. Got the assist for Vinicius’ second goal at Al-Awwal Stadium.
Finally got on the scoreboard with a calm finish after the hour mark to make it 4-1 and seal the result in stone.
Vinicius Jr: 10
A statement first-half performance and a night to savour for the ages for Real Madrid’s young Brazilian phenom. Vinicius Jr completed a first-half hattrick in El Clasico on the night to gift his side a dominant lead heading into half-time with two goals coming on vicious counters and one from the spot.
He was unplayable at times, running away from Barcelona’s helpless defence. Monster.
Brahim Diaz: 6.5
Brahim’s arrival onto the field troubled Barcelona to no end, for his fresh feet injected pace into Real Madrid’s attack for the final ten minutes.
Luka Modric: 6.5
Came on and instantly provided control in midfield. Had a very limited, although flawless performance.
Eduardo Camavinga: 6.5
Simple, elegant, safe in possession through his short cameo.
Dani Ceballos: NA
Came on too late to warrant a rating.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.