Real Madrid: 5 takeaways from a 1-0 win over Athletic Club

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Luka Modric
Real Madrid, Luka Modric (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images) /

Luka Modric, Karim Benzema give their all

Real Madrid did not have the best game from an attacking perspective, which I’ll get to later, but they did have two standout players on the attacking end in usual suspects Karim Benzema and Luka Modric.

Watching Benzema stand head and shoulders above the rest of his attacking teammates was no surprise. That’s been the case all season long. But as a fan, you couldn’t help but feel inspired watching the way Benz went to work. He took so many players on and was voracious defensively, charging to break up passes and put his body on the line to stop Bilbao from progressing play forward.

Modric was the same in midfield. Without Toni Kroos, he was entrusted to be the main creative force and keep playing ticking, spreading the ball around as a passer. The Croatian superstar led the way with four key passes and three tackles. Both he and Benz had a pair of interceptions.

And as a passer, Modric completed a Kroos-esque 14 of 16 long balls, leading the team with 88 pass attempts and a 94.3 percent pass completion percentage. He attempted a whopping 11 crosses.

Real Madrid can always count on these two in the biggest games, and Modric and Benzema were the men who led by example for Zinedine Zidane on the pitch.