Real Madrid ended their disappointing league campaign on a familiar note as they squandered a two-goal lead to be held to a 2-2 draw by Villarreal.
The visitors were quick off the blocks, taking the lead in the 11th minute through Gareth Bale, who was smartly found by Luka Modric before he nutmegged Daniele Bonera and scored past Andres. The hosts rarely managed to conjure up meaningful chances in the first half, and Real Madrid were soon two to the good.
Isco picked out Marcelo with a stunning diagonal pass before the Brazilian produced a delightful cross for Cristiano Ronaldo. Post the break, Villarreal improved considerably, coming close to scoring twice before finally pulling a goal back through a splendid effort by Roger Martinez in the 70th minute.
— Real Madrid C.F.🇺🇸🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) May 19, 2018
15 minutes later, the game was level once again as Rodrigo’s searching ball was latched on to by Samu Castillejo, who ran through on goal before rounding Luca Zidane to slot in the goal. A result that was the epitome of Real Madrid’s league campaign, and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Luca Zidane: 7/10
A surprise name on the team sheet, Zidane gave a good account of himself on the night. Had very little to do in the first half as the visitors dominated the proceedings, but as Villarreal came alive after the break, the youngster had to stay alert. Produced a top notch save to deny Nicola Sansone, but could have done very little to stop Martinez.
Was left high and dry for Castillejo’s goal, but better composure could have seen him save the equaliser. Nevertheless, Zidane showed a lot of positive signs on his debut, and looks to have a promising future ahead of him.
Dani Carvajal: 6/10
Back into the team after a three-week layoff, Carvajal still had little knock-on effects of the hamstring injury he has just recovered from. In fact, this was just the kind of game he needed to warm up for the test that awaits him against Sadio Mane in the Champions League final. One or two poor moments defensively though, one that saw him being caught out of position in the lead up to Villarreal’s first goal.
Raphael Varane: 5/10
A game full of talking points for Varane. The Frenchman is showing good signs as far as building up play from the back is concerned. But, one does not really expect him to be caught for pace and positioning, the two shortcomings that saw him and Real Madrid being punished badly on the night, especially in the lead up to Martinez’s goal.
Sergio Ramos: 6/10
While Varane seems assured on the ball, Ramos was uncharacteristically poor on it, misplacing several passes. But, Ramos cut a composed figure defensively, and was the best of an underperforming unit. A goal line clearance to deny Enes Unal was brilliant, and it is this awareness that he’ll need to have against Liverpool.
Marcelo trying his best to play an offside trap, do the same to Salah please X pic.twitter.com/7xBgK4X6kS
— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) May 20, 2018
Marcelo has the ability to delight and frustrate in the same game, and that is just what he did on the night. A sumptuous cross from outside the boot served the goal on a platter for Ronaldo. But, he was dreadful at the back, and was caught napping as Castillejo slipped past him without doing much. Salah would be licking his chops after that.
Luka Modric: 6/10
Perhaps a long season has taken its toll on him. Perhaps he’s saving his best for last. But, Modric was far from his best on Saturday. In particular, it was odd to see him being sloppy on the ball in the minutes leading to his substitution in the second half. Was also booked for a poorly timed tackle on Roberto Soriano.
A game in which Casemiro had to do a lot more defensive work than he is usually accustomed to, particularly in the second half. But, the Brazilian stuck to his guns, making a number of crucial tackles and interceptions – a last-ditch tackle on Unal even stopped a certain goalscoring opportunity. Will need to reproduce this against Liverpool.
Toni Kroos: 7/10
Much improved from Kroos who, in typical fashion, played the most passes in the game, linking up well with Isco and Bale. Still not at his best, but the German is taking all the steps in the right direction to trouble a vulnerable Liverpool defence.
A player who looks to be coming back to his best at the right moment. Isco controlled the game superbly in the first half, and his exquisite close control was evident in all its glory as well. His impact reduced in the second half, but he looks to have made his case to start the final.
Gareth Bale: 8/10
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 19, 2018
Another player who has well and truly staked claim to start the Champions League final. Bale has now scored in four successive games – his joint-best ever scoring run in Real Madrid colours. What bodes well for Los Blancos is that the Welshman seems to have regained his confidence and pomp.
It was this confidence that saw him turn Daniele Bonera with ease, nutmegging the defender in the process before shimmying and scoring his side’s opener. With Bale in such form, the Liverpool defence will have more than just Ronaldo to worry about on Saturday.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 8/10
Back into the side after a couple of weeks, Ronaldo seems to have shaken off his ankle injury quite well. The Portuguese superstar never quite hit top gear in his hour-long stint on the pitch, but the good thing for Real Madrid is that he looked sharp during the period.
Ronaldo took his goal well too, which was his 450th for Real Madrid, finding himself in clear space before nodding the ball past Andres with ease.
Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 450 goals for Real Madrid across all competitions.
This is his 437th game. 😱 pic.twitter.com/m7nA4PF8xF
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 19, 2018
Karim Benzema: 6/10
On for Ronaldo, Benzema looked in fine touch. The Frenchman came close to scoring twice, with one of his shots forcing Andres into a superb save.
Lucas Vazquez: 6/10
Worked hard in typical fashion upon coming on for Modric. Vazquez teed up Benzema well for his chance, while getting an opportunity to score himself, only to volley his shot wide.