Real Madrid vs. Valencia: 3 takeaways from a refreshingly easy win

Real Madrid (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid
Real Madrid (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Valencia were beyond woeful, but Real Madrid should receive plenty of credit for making it so by putting together another professional performance for a second straight 2-0 victory in which they were never really threatened.

Let’s take a look at the three takeaways from Los Blancos’ shutout victory over Valencia as the Champions League fixture with Atalanta looms on Feb. 24.

A secure center back partnership without Sergio Ramos

Madridistas used to fret whenever Sergio Ramos went down with an injury – and for good reason. Without Ramos in the XI, Real’s attack and defense suffered, as they made mistakes without Ramos’ leadership and even struggled in the build-up play.

But they have found a successful formula in Raphael Varane and Nacho Fernandez. We always knew the former ranks among the world’s best center backs, and he’s been world-class in each of the past three matches.

Nacho has been the real revelation, though. A utility backup who can play any position in the back four, Nacho has been excellent as the left center back. With Ramos set to miss more weeks of action after requiring knee surgery, Nacho’s continued excellence in central defense will be vital to Real Madrid.

We know how much Ramos is missed in the Champions League, and Atalanta are a classy attacking outfit with the likes of Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel up top. But in their current form, Nacho and Varane are giving Madridistas confidence.