LW Vinicius Jr.
A slow-starter against Sevilla, Vinicius Jr. eventually grew into the game in the second half and fulfilled his role as a key to victory, showing nifty skills to help Dani Carvajal set up the opening goal for game-changing substitute Rodrygo Goes.
Osasuna were highly defensive earlier this year at the Santiago Bernabeu, and we can expect more of the same at El Sadar. In the top half of the table now, Osasuna knows no quit, and they will do their best to isolate Vini on the wing and make life hard for him in terms of his ability to dribble into the penalty box to get shots off. Vini will need all his resiliency – and his bag of tricks – in order to help Real Madrid make sure they find a breakthrough on the road.
CF Karim Benzema
The inevitable Karim Benzema scored the winning goal in the tie against Chelsea, and then the back-to-back Champions League hat-trick hero netted the winner over LaLiga title rivals Sevilla at the Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday night.
Benzema is as composed as ever in front of goal and as instrumental when not shooting as ever. The Ballon d’Or frontrunner, Benzema’s case for the award that snubbed him in 2021 only grows with each passing game. Statistically, you would put your money on the No. 9 to add to his tally, even in the hostile environment of El Sadar.
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RW Rodrygo Goes
An impact substitute in the Champions League and at Sevilla, Rodrygo Goes could be in this role again behind Fede Valverde, or he could finally start again. I have a feeling he will start in LaLiga before the trip to Manchester, and I have a feeling he will contribute to a goal, just as he scored and assisted in a vital performance for the Merengues.
If Rodrygo’s perfect hat-trick against Galatasaray as a “rookie” Madridistas was his best performance, then his display at the Sanchez Pizjuan was his most important in the Royal White kit. It seems like he has refound his mojo – and is finally on the cusp of taking his game to the heights fans know it is capable of reaching.