Real Madrid vs. Valencia: Top 5 performances from a 2-0 win

Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Casemiro
Real Madrid, Casemiro (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images) /

DM Casemiro

And we have to praise the third and deepest-lying midfielder in the Real Madrid lineup. Casemiro led the way with six tackles, including a pair of stops that deserve their place on the highlight reel, just as Toni Kroos’ goal and Luak Modric’s flicks surely did.

The 28-year-old is still the class of the world in the defensive midfield. You cannot find a player who reads the game and makes interventions to the level Casemiro does. He struggles with his passing at times and isn’t always the most elegant attacking player, but he does get the job done as an attacker, especially with his head in front of goal.

There were no goals on Sunday afternoon for Casemiro at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, but his defending was class.

CB Nacho Fernandez

Fellow defensive players Lucas Vazquez, Ferland Mendy, and Raphael Varane all deserve kind words, and Thibaut Courtois had one excellent save on Maxi Gomez from distance. But Nacho Fernandez has to be the final man to earn praise as a top-five performer for Los Merengues on La Liga’s Matchday 23.

The 31-year-old defender is always game to play anywhere in the back four that is required, but he’s been at his best as the left center back whenever Sergio Ramos is out. Nacho was full of running and intense defending in this game, making a couple of crucial interventions and blanketing Valencia’s forwards in tandem with Raphael Varane.

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Nacho had three interceptions in this 2-0 win, drew three fouls, and completed 98 percent of his attempts. He was fantastic, and he will be a major key to victory against Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel in the Champions League Round of 16.