Real Madrid just needed a win on Wednesday night to guarantee themselves the top spot in Group F of the UEFA Champions League. Yet, they orchestrated the complete demolition of Celtic at Santiago Bernabeu to jump atop the standings.
The first half was nervy, with the visitors not too far behind Carlo Ancelotti’s men in terms of quality. However, Real Madrid turned up the heat in the second half and showed why they were the defending European Champions.
Federico Valverde, Rodrygo, Vinicius, Marco Asensio and Luka Modric all got a slice of the cake with goals on the night. Madrid Universal brings you the player ratings from Real Madrid’s humbling at the Bernabeu.
Thibaut Courtois: 9
The Belgian had a sublime first-half performance with the highlight of his display being a penalty save. Made two more saves from inside the box in the opening period to maintain his team’s lead. Recorded a further three saves in the second period and even got his glove to the goal eventually conceded.
Daniel Carvajal: 7
Solid in defence with four defensive actions, also created two chances and took one shot on goal. Made was for Lucas Vazquez in the second half.
Eder Militao: 8
Did exceedingly well to keep Reo Hatate’s shot out six minutes past the hour mark. Made five clearances, two recoveries and one headed clearance on the night. Further, he won 100% of his ground duels and an aerial duel. The best defender on the field by far.
David Alaba: 7
Not a particularly flashy display for the Austrian International but did the dirty work to keep his side in the running for a clean sheet as long as he was on the field. Made six defensive actions in his 66 minutes before he made way for Nacho.
Ferland Mendy: 6.5
The Frenchman was once again silent in attack but reliable in defence. Was responsible for the one black mark on the team’s performance – the penalty conceded in the first half courtesy of sloppy defending to take down Abada.
Federico Valverde: 9
It was the Uruguayan’s powerful strike in the fifth minute that won Real Madrid the first penalty after striking Jenz’s arm. Constantly tested Joe Hart from distance, and created two chances in just the first 45 minutes.
Can claim full credit for Real Madrid’s fourth goal as he created the chance out of nothing with his powerful cross to Vinicius. Got the cherry on the cake with an unstoppable shot from outside the box to make it five on the night.
Toni Kroos: 7
Crossed 100 passes, as is the norm for the German midfielder. Silent but instrumental in possession, worked hard off of it.
Luka Modric: 7.5
Stepped up to take Los Blancos‘ first penalty in the fifth minute and calmly buried it into the bottom corner to give them the lead. Controlled the midfield and broke Celtic’s defence with ease time and time again. Was critical in the buildup that resulted in the second spot-kick too. Came off for Dani Ceballos in the 66th minute.
Marco Asensio: 9.5
A world-class display from the Spaniard who was involved in almost every attack for the men in white. Was involved in the buildup to both penalties, bamboozling the visitors’ defence with his cheeky passes.
Scored a banger in the 51st minute as he smashed the ball past Joe Hart to make it 3-0. Also got the pre-assist for the team’s fourth goal before directly assisting Valverde for the fifth.
Rodrygo Goes: 8.5
The youngster was instrumental in winning the second penalty on the night as his shot struck O’Riley’s arm in an unnatural position in the box. Stepped up and calmly dispatched the ball to double his team’s lead. Created a massive chance for Vinicius in the 22nd minute with a lovely bit of solo play but saw the chance go begging.
Vinicius Jr: 8
The Brazilian was active in front of the goal in the first half but just could not find the back of the net. Missed one of the easiest chances of the game from Rodrygo’s phenomenal cross when he failed to bury the ball into an open net.
Eventually found the back of the net in the 61st minute when he got onto the end of Fede Valverde’s powerful cross across the face of the goal. Made way for Karim Benzema in the 64th minute.
Karim Benzema: 6
Involved heavily in the buildup but failed to create any clear threat in front of the goal. Clearly missing match fitness.
Lucas Vasquez: 7
Conceded the set piece that resulted in Celtic’s only goal of the night. Nevertheless, a good all-round display with four defensive actions and one chance created in less than 30 minutes.
Dani Ceballos: 6.5
Did well to cover for Luka Modric, and created one big chance.
Poor effort in defending Celtic’s freekick. No contribution worth mentioning during his cameo.
Jesus Vallejo: 6.5
A good and short cameo for the Spaniard. Calm defensively made four interventions in just 17 minutes.
Real Madrid World Cup Spotlight: Vinicius, Rodrygo, Militao advance to the Round of 16
The second round of group-stage fixtures in Qatar came to a close on Monday in what was a day of very high-quality football. The first two games alone accounted for 11 goals in what was the highest tally in a day in this edition.
The first game saw Serbia and Cameroon face off in an epic clash that saw no end of twists and turns. The game ended 3-3 with the teams sharing the points.
The next game saw South Korea go 2-0 down quickly against Ghana before coming back in the second half. However, the African side scored once again on demand to steer themselves to a win.
Brazil needed a late winner from Casemiro to break the deadlock against Switzerland in the third game and secured their spot in the Round of 16.
The last game between Portugal and Uruguay was expected to be a match of equals. That perception quickly changed when the Europeans produced a dominant performance and killed off the game with two goals.
Madrid Universal brings you an overview of the performances of Real Madrid players on Monday.
Vinicius Jr (Brazil vs Switzerland)
Over the past few years, Vinicius Jr has carved out a reputation for being a thorn in defenders’ feet, be it with his world-class dribbling or his antics. As one of the best young wingers in business, he stands out in chance creation even when faced against the best in the business.
However, it appeared like Silvan Widmer had Vinicius in his pockets for large parts of the game. The two created a fabulous battle down Brazil’s left-wing but it was often the Real Madrid player who came second best.
The youngster scored a goal in the 66th minute with a perfectly placed shot after beating his man. However, it was ruled out for an offside intervention after the VAR review.
Apart from sporadic moments of magic, Vinicius did not offer much. He had just one shot on target, completed just one of his five attempted dribbles and missed one big chance. Moreover, he did not complete a single cross accurately and lost more than 50% of his duels. But he was involved in the buildup to the goal.
Eder Militao (Brazil vs Switzerland)
After spending 90 minutes on the bench against Serbia, Militao received his first World Cup start on Monday night. However, the manager deployed him as the right-back as opposed to his usual position in central defence.
Despite playing in a foreign position, the Brazilian was convincing in defence and stopped the likes of Ruben Vargas and Ricardo Rodriguez.
Understandably, Militao did not look to burst into the final third and create chances like a traditional full-back but was still heavily linked in the build-up play. He completed 87% of his attempted passes, five out of eight long balls and even provided a key pass.
Rodrygo Goes (Brazil vs Switzerland)
After Brazil’s underwhelming first half, the manager turned to Rodrygo at the start of the second period. The youngster came on for Lucas Paqueta at halftime in an attempt to ramp up Selecao’s threat in the final third and the decision paid off.
It was the young sensation who assisted Casemiro’s goal in the 83rd minute. Receiving the ball from Vinicius, Rodrygo just flicked the ball away from defenders and into the feet of Casemiro to set up an ideal half-volley.
Apart from his assist, the Real Madrid man came painfully close to scoring in the 94th minute only to be denied by Manuel Akanji. He had one shot on target, one blocked, and a key pass.
Federico Valverde (Uruguay vs Portugal)
Uruguay have perhaps been the most disappointing team in the World Cup this year. The squad is filled with quality players from Rodrigo Bentancur and Darwin Nunez to Luis Suarez, Federico Valverde and Diego Godin.
The South Americans once again dished out an average game against Portugal, but it was Valverde who seemed the most inspiring in the Uruguayan team.
The in-form midfielder did not pose much threat to the goal on the night but worked like a machine off the ball. He recorded three interceptions, and two tackles, and won two tackles against Fernando Santos’ side in addition to a key pass and a big chance created.