Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema all got into the act for Real Madrid on Saturday, as they beat Deportivo Alaves 4-0.
Real Madrid continued their impressive run of form in recent weeks, as they made easy work of Deportivo Alaves, defeating them 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Zinedine Zidane recalled his big guns – Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale into the starting XI for the game, after having left them out in the midweek win over Leganes and it was the former who gave Madrid the lead, slotting home a left-footed finish close to half-time.
Bale got into the act just a minute after the restart, sliding the ball into the net after being played through by Karim Benzema, who had also got the assist for the first goal. Ronaldo grabbed his second of the day just after the hour mark, getting on the end of a Lucas Vazquez pass before Benzema got his name on the scoresheet, converting from the penalty spot in the dying moments.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 24, 2018
The result sees Madrid move within four points of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who do have a game in hand. The manager will be pleased with the performance though, and here is how we rated the Real Madrid stars on the day;
Keylor Navas: 8/10
The Costa Rican international returned to the lineup after being rested for the midweek game and he put on a fine display between the sticks against Alaves. Navas made a couple of important saves in the first period and was called into the act late on as, when he was alert to preserve his clean sheet.
Dani Carvajal: 6/10
The Spanish right-back wasn’t his usual effervescent best going forward down the right-flank but defended resolutely against the threat of Alfonso Pedraza whenever he was called upon. Not at his best yet it was still a solid display from Carvajal.
Raphael Varane: 7/10
The Frenchman had to take over the leadership mantle at the back in the absence of club captain Sergio Ramos. And he enjoyed quite a comfortable game, with the Alaves attackers not testing him enough. Used his pace well to get out of tricky situations and was composed with the ball at his feet.
Starting in place of the suspended Ramos, the Real Madrid utility man wasn’t at the same level as one has grown accustomed to expect from him. An early error allowed Ruben Sobrino through on goal, but Nacho improved after that and made sure there were no blips to protect the clean sheet.
Theo Hernandez: 6.5/10
It isn’t always easy to replace someone as crucial as Marcelo in this Real Madrid side, but summer signing Theo Hernandez seems to be doing a decent job of it. The left-back looked jittery at times at the back, but got stuck in and made some strong tackles.
Always on the prowl to get forward, his jinking run in the second period almost led to a goal, but was denied by the visiting keeper. Not entirely convincing but quite encouraging enough.
Lucas Vazquez: 7.5/10
The Spaniard has been one of Madrid’s shining lights in recent weeks and he made sure he carried that form into Saturday’s encounter as well. Was a constant thorn in Alaves’ stride with his pace and directness. Got the assist for Ronaldo’s second goal and could have scored himself too.
The Brazilian midfielder seems to be enjoying playing as part of a two-man midfield, which has allowed him more freedom to get forward and help in the attacking third. Did not shirk from his defensive responsibilities though, despite being caught out of position once or twice.
Cristiano Ronaldo let Karim Benzema take a late penalty today—denying him the chance to score his 50th career hat trick pic.twitter.com/ZQkU1739BA
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 24, 2018
Mateo Kovacic: 6.5/10
The Croatian may not have been the most exhilarating player on the field, but he did the basics well in the middle of the park. Kept Real Madrid ticking without trying anything spectacular. May not have been a major influence on proceedings in the attacking half, but his work rate was impressive.
Gareth Bale: 8/10
Returning into the starting setup, the Welshman was under some pressure to end his recent rut and put on a commanding display and that he did in style. Bale initially found it a little difficult to get going, with Alaves sitting tight, but he soon made a mark, scoring the second goal with a smart finish.
Won the penalty late in the game and could have had a couple more assists to his name as well. His return to form bodes well for Real Madrid.
Karim Benzema: 8/10
It looked like things would go horrendously wrong for the Frenchman when he missed two great opportunities in the first period. But, Benzema made amends with a nice assist for Ronaldo’s goal, before setting up Bale for the second after he had stolen the ball from an Alaves defender. Slotted home the penalty coolly to get on the scoresheet and silence some of his critics.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 8.5/10
Coming back into the team after being rested in the midweek, the Portuguese was handed the captain’s armband in Ramos’ absence and he led the team from the front by example. Took a little time to get settled, but once he broke the deadlock, it looked ominous for Alaves.
Added a second after the restart and had multiple opportunities to complete a hat-trick. It was a nice touch from him to let Benzema take the penalty despite him being on a hat-trick. Reached another milestone, scoring his 300th La Liga goal.
A breakdown of @Cristiano's 435 #RealMadrid strikes…
🏆 300 LaLiga goals
💫 101 Champions League goals
👑 22 Copa del Rey goals
🌐 6 Club World Cup goals
🇪🇸 4 Spanish Super Cup goals
🌍 2 European Super Cup goals
— Real Madrid C.F.🇺🇸🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) February 24, 2018
Dani Ceballos: 6/10
The summer signing replaced Kovacic in the 73rd minute to make his eighth league appearance of the season. With the game all wrapped up by then, he had a good run-out on the pitch.
Marcos Llorente: N/A
Came on for Casemiro for the final ten minutes. His only contribution was getting into the referee’s books late on.