Elche vs. Real Madrid: 3 stars, 2 flops from 2-1 win in Copa del Rey

Real Madrid, Vinicius Jr. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Vinicius Jr. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Vinicius Jr.
Real Madrid, Vinicius Jr. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Star: LW Vincius Jr.

For me, the best player on the pitch, and that has become a common theme for Real Madrid in the 2021-2022 season across all competitions. It turns out it was a very good thing Carlo Ancelotti did not rest Vinicius in the Copa del Rey for someone else, because even a scintillating Vini was only enough to keep Real afloat for much of the match.

A lot of Vini’s greatness was wasted by two attacking partners who did not play well at all. The left winger, meanwhile, was magnetic on the ball. He had three key passes and a whopping nine successful dribbles. We would be talking about this as one of the finest dribbling performances of the season in terms of effectiveness and aesthetics, had the players around him been more clinical and quick-thinking off the ball.

Vinicius Jr. is a gift to Real Madrid, and they cannot waste him. Do not let the scoreline through the first 105 minutes fool you. Vini was brilliant again.

Flop: ST Luka Jovic

Carlo Ancelotti was so set on resting the tireless Karim Benzema – he of the 17 goals this season – that he did not even have the No. 9 in his squad. The stage was set for Luka Jovic, who missed the first Copa del Rey fixture against Alcoyano, where Mariano Diaz was predictably anonymous.

Somehow, Luka Jovic was even worse. With the spotlight on him, Jovic’s performance was a far cry from the excellence we saw against tougher opponents in Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad this season. I cannot pick out a single thing Jovic did significantly well – or, at least, something beyond a basic positive that I would expect from any professional who made it to Real Madrid.

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Lethargic, unimaginative, weak in possession, and inactive off the ball. Jovic was at his most frustrating, showing all the negative traits that made Zinedine Zidane forget about his involvement in 2020-2021 before an ill-fated loan back to Frankfurt. We all know Jovic is capable of so much more, but when he plays this poorly, it is hard for some Madridistas to remember how much quality he has.