Real Madrid wrapped up their pre-Club World Cup La Liga campaign with a bang as they rout Sevilla 5-0 at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
There were pre-match concerns over a possible struggle in the absence of the likes of Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Casemiro. But, they were put to rest soon after kick-off as the hosts dominated the proceedings from the word go, grabbing the lead just three minutes in as Nacho scored from close range.
Sevilla responded well to the early setback, organising themselves at the back before their resolve was broken once again in the 23rd minute. Ronaldo continued a memorable week by getting on the scoresheet after latching on to Marco Asensio’s fine through ball, and that started a blitzkrieg through to half-time.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) December 9, 2017
Eight minutes later, Ronaldo doubled his tally for the evening, scoring from the spot after Jesus Navas handled the ball in the Sevilla box. He was then the catalyst for his side’s fourth goal as Toni Kroos turned in Lucas Vazquez’s low cross in the 38th minute.
The win was then rounded off four minutes later, when Achraf Hakimi scored his first senior goal for Real Madrid from a tight angle. The hosts went into cruise mode in the second half, with Zinedine Zidane taking the opportunity to give an early night off to Kross, Luka Modric and Ronaldo. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over the victors.
Keylor Navas: 7/10
It was a far quieter night than expected for Keylor Navas, who wasn’t tested much by the Sevilla attack on Saturday. The Costa Rican only had three saves to make in the entire game, each of which were made comfortably so for him to earn a fourth clean sheet in La Liga this season – one that would give him loads of confidence.
Achraf Hakimi: 8/10
Achraf Hakimi becomes the first Arab ever in history to score for Real Madrid. pic.twitter.com/EN6RffwUz9
— SB (@Realmadridplace) December 9, 2017
With Dani Carvajal suspended, Achraf got a rare start in the league, and he took this opportunity with aplomb. The youngster dealt with the threat of Pablo Sarabia well, making the most tackles in the game. On the other end of the pitch, he overlapped with purpose, providing Lucas Vazquez a lot of support.
He also had a slice of history to take with himself post the game, as the fifth goal of the game was not just his first for Los Blancos, but also a first by a Moroccan in La Liga. Quite a way to cap off a fine outing.
Real Madrid’s Mr. Reliable raised his hand once again, when called into action on Saturday. With Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane unavailable, the Spaniard had the responsibility to marshal the troops at the back, and he did so with elan.
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 9, 2017
Nacho barely put a foot wrong all through the game, and had five interceptions to show for his efforts apart from a fantastic pass completion rate of 98%. And to top it all off, he also scored the goal that set the Real Madrid rout train in motion.
Jesus Vallejo: 8/10
Ramos and Varane’s absence also gave Jesus Vallejo a rare chance to showcase his abilities from the start, and the young Spaniard was nothing short of impressive. The player particularly used his pace and mobility to good effect, keeping Luis Muriel in check, and such an outing will only add to his confidence.
Marcelo was seen making the beautiful underlapping runs in the final third. However Asensio playing as the winger dropped in to the half space in Madrid’s half to help Marcelo overlap on the outside.
Marcelo became Madrid’s outlet in the left during build ups as seen below pic.twitter.com/sSWZf2nAv8
— Football Bloody Hell (@fbhfootball) December 9, 2017
The diminutive Brazilian seems to be slowly, but surely clawing his way back to top form. Rarely tested at the back, Marcelo spent large parts of the game in the opposition half. And it is his output in the final third that brought back a lot of memories of the good old days.
Among his notable moments in attack, the left-back played a starring role in winning the penalty for the third goal and sent in an inch-perfect cross towards Karim Benzema that the Frenchman struck against the post.
Luka Modric: 7.5/10
Quite an unspectacular performance by Modric, who pulled the strings throughout his stint on the pitch without having any big moment in the game, rewinding back to the days of his pivot controlling with Toni Kroos in Carlo Ancelotti’s heyday. The Croat went off to a standing ovation, and deservedly so.
Toni Kroos: 8/10
4-0 Kroos , we are fired up pic.twitter.com/2ZXBUBkwza
— RMadrid-Lifestyle (@Losblancos020) December 9, 2017
The other half of the Modric-Kroos show in midfield, it was quite the masterclass by the German on the day. With Casemiro not playing, Kroos took it upon himself to cover up the tracks in front of the back-four, while also advancing forward constantly, especially in the first half.
His sumptuous link up abilities were on full display as well on Saturday, with one of the plays ending with his second goal of the season. Such a delight to behold when he’s this good.
Lucas Vazquez: 7/10
A Lucas Vazquez ascendancy seems to be brewing at Real Madrid. Making his second start in as many games, the Spaniard was a factor in the game once again, making effective forays down the right flank, and showing impeccable understanding with Achraf Hakimi to drift in when the youngster overlapped.
He also had an assist to show for his efforts, and is likely to be involved heavily in the weeks to come as he seems to be the only naturally right sided attacker in the absence of Gareth Bale.
Marco Asensio: 8.5/10
Marco Asensio vs Sevilla
96% pass accuracy
6 key passes
1 dribble won
2 tackles won
Great game especially after returning from injury. pic.twitter.com/phC0zzqKMN
— KroosT8 (@KroosT8) December 10, 2017
Back in the side against the Andalusians, Asensio was such a delight in the number ten role. Given the freedom to move all over the park, the youngster sang with the ball at his feet at times, with his delicious pass for Ronaldo’s first goal showcasing his playmaking abilities.
The numbers tell quite the tale too, with Spain international making more touches of the ball (96) and more key passes (6) than any of his teammates. Asensio might just have found the position that suits him best, although it might not bode well for a certain Isco.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 9/10
What a way to cap off a week to remember for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar, who had already broken records against Borussia Dortmund before collecting the Ballon d’Or on Thursday, was in a menacing mood on Saturday as he grabbed a brace that doubled his tally from the previous 10 La Liga games.
Cristiano Ronaldo becomes the first player to score 50+ goals in seven successive seasons. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/qSER0kkWHu
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 9, 2017
But, his impact was not just restricted to his eye for goal. Ronaldo was also heavily involved in build up play, having a hand in the final two goals as well, starting off moves that ended with Kroos and Achraf finding the back of the net. A golden week capped off in the best possible manner.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
Like many of his outings in La Liga this season, Benzema didn’t have any goals to show for his effort. But unlike the said outings, this wasn’t a disaster class by the veteran Frenchman, who worked tremendously hard, creating a lot of space and chances for others with his movement.
He did deserve a goal by the end of the ninety minutes, and almost got one too before being cruelly denied by the woodwork.
Marcos Llorente: 6/10
Here’s a player who must be wondering when he will get a run to prove himself. While he was unlikely to start against a potentially tricky Sevilla side, Llorente showed that he could have been useful from the off too, considering he is a natural replacement for Casemiro at Zidane’s disposal. Perhaps the Club World Cup will be when he finally gets a short run of games.
Dani Ceballos: 6/10
Another player who would be feeling a little hard done by at this stage of the season. Ceballos, too, showed what he is capable of during a very short stint on the pitch. In less than 20 minutes, the young Spaniard had a staggering 40 touches on the ball, completing each of his 35 passes.
On for the final 15 minutes, Isco did not have much to do with the game all wrapped up and Real Madrid in cruise control mode.