Real Madrid 2 – 1 Sporting de Gijón – Player Ratings

(Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
(Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid scraped by Sporting de Gijón with all 3 points after a hard-fought contest in the torrential Santiago Bernabéu. Alex McVey looks at some individual performances in the following player ratings.

Starting 11

Keylor Navas – 8 –  Solid performance from Navas in a wet and wild match that could have easily given the keeper some serious trouble. It’s difficult to blame Navas for Isma Lopez’ goal, and Navas kept Madrid ahead with some clutch saves and tidy catches throughout the match.

Nacho – 7 –  This rating would have been higher had Nacho not made a stupid mistake by giving the ball away and then overcompensating by dragging down Víctor Rodríguez in the box. Nacho is lucky Duje Čop let him off the hook by blasting the penalty into the stands. Despite this late blunder, Nacho had a top notch match, surging forward again and again in lieu of Marcelo at left back, providing a peach of an assist for Ronaldo’s second goal.

Sergio Ramos – 7 – No major boneheaded mistakes and a superb near-miss overhead bicycle kick from Madrid’s captain cap off a decent overall performance from Ramos. The center back was subbed out late on for Marcelo to avoid the risk of picking up another yellow and missing El Clásico through suspension.

Pepe – 7 – Perhaps Pepe could have worked a bit harder to interfere in Sporting’s goal, but overall a strong performance in Pepe’s first game back from injury. Slightly worrying to see Pepe going down with injury, but was able to finish the match. Madrid will need him in the upcoming weeks, especially if Varane is sidelined with a knee injury.

Danilo – 6 – A poor shift from Danilo, who was the consistent weak link in Real Madrid’s defense. Danilo nearly granted Sporting a goal in the first two minutes after being burned down the right, but later showed some good initiative, making powerful runs forward to rescue balls in the midfield. Danilo will need much more if he hopes to displace Carvajal from the Starting 11.

More from The Real Champs

Luka Modrić  – 6 – A very weird match from the Croatian wizard. Whether it was the deluge of rain, or whether his touch was simply off, Modrić misplaced a surprising number of passes that one would usually expect the little magician to complete. One of these passes went straight to a Sporting player and cost Madrid a goal. Even on a bad day, however, Modrić is still better than most, switching play intelligently and putting on a display of some impressive dribbling skills, especially after Kovačić was subbed off in the second half.

Mateo Kovačić – 8.5 – Kovačić was omnipresent for Madrid, making slick dribbles through Sporting’s midfield and combining excellently with James during the first half. Kovačić helped connect the midfield and attack in the absence of Isco. With a team high of 5 dribbles, Kovačić provided a real fluidity that Madrid needed to penetrate Sporting’s defense.

MADRID, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 26: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring Real’s 2nd goal from during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Real Sporting de Gijon at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 26, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 26: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring Real’s 2nd goal from during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Real Sporting de Gijon at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 26, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

Cristiano Ronaldo – 9 – Man of the Match – A brace from CR7 earned Madrid three points today. While the dominant narrative surrounding Ronaldo’s recent return to form has been focused on his transformation from a winger to a pure number 9, Ronaldo demonstrated that he can still burn defenders out wide and bring the ball in from deep. Switching from wing to wing, and coming inside as well, Ronaldo was dominant in Madrid’s attack

James Rodriguez – 7.5 – James is back!  After a slow start out on the left wing, James grew into the match, finding space in the middle of the pitch and making good combinations with the likes of Kovačić and Modrić. James created the space for Nacho’s cross for Madrid’s second goal.

Karim Benzema – 6- Benzema was invisible for most of the evening, receiving whistles from the Santiago Bernabéu for his anonymous performance. While Benzema hardly touched the ball in the first half, he found a bit more space in the second half and nearly scored a headed goal off of a cross from Vázquez. Although his touches were sparse, a few that he did make were slick one-touch layoffs or crucial hold-ups that helped Madrid put together some impressive strings of tiki-taka-esque passing in the middle of the park.

Lucas Vázquez – 8 – A much improved display from Vázquez following two poor matches in the starting 11. Vázquez’ hard work to get on the ball before being fouled in the box was crucial to the opening penalty. He was a major presence for Real Madrid all over the pitch, registering three key passes and three tackles.

Substitutes

Marco Asensio (71’ for James) – 5 – Asensio was largely insignificant during his short appearance as a substitute today. He only registered 7 passes, 2 fewer than Isco despite being on the pitch for twice the time. Asensio did manage to make two tackles, but otherwise failed to make much of his opportunity.

 Isco  (80’ for Kovačić) – 7 – Isco didn’t get much time to play, but still managed to make two key passes and come away with 100% pass accuracy. Not bad for just 10 minutes on the pitch.

Marcelo (80’ for Ramos) – 5 – Marcelo came in mostly with the purpose of keeping Ramos free from suspension, and didn’t manage to do much else. He took no shots, made no tackles, and failed to register a single dribble. Hopefully he got some well-needed rest today, because Real Madrid will need him fit and ready for El Clásico.

(All statistics from Whoscored.com)