David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois shone bright while Federico Valverde struggled as Real Madrid played out a goalless draw against Villarreal in La Liga.
It was Villarreal who made the brighter start on the night at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Arnaut Danjuma drawing a fine save from Thibaut Courtois just 12 minutes in. Real Madrid struggled to carve out any clear-cut chances and had a penalty shout turned down, while Courtois was called into action again, this time by Paco Alcacer as the game remained goalless at half-time.
Real Madrid had a chance to pull ahead early in the second half but Eder Militao’s headed effort went wide. Villarreal came close again after a sliced effort from Alcacer beat the defenders and Courtois but wasn’t met by Pau Torres at the far post. Substitute Isco had a headed attempt blocked late on at the other end as the game petered out to a drab goalless draw.
Despite dropping points, Carlo Ancelotti’s side hold on the top spot in the La Liga standings, with a three-point gap over second-placed Sevilla, who have a game in hand. Here are our player ratings for the Real Madrid stars after what was an underwhelming display at home.
Thibaut Courtois: 8/10
📊 | Thibaut Courtois kept his 100th clean sheet in LaLiga tonight, achieving this feat in 217 games. ⛔️ pic.twitter.com/VPDfU9VsW5
— 𝗥𝗠𝗢𝗻𝗹𝘆 (@ReaIMadridOnly) September 25, 2021
Made a brilliant stop to deny Danjuma early in the game before pulling off another crucial save to keep Alcacer out. The Belgian was at hand to stop Danjuma from scoring again in the second period as well. Helped Real Madrid salvage a point.
Federico Valverde: 4/10
Shunted out to right-back strangely, it was an experiment that bombed for Ancelotti. The Uruguayan looked out of sorts and uncomfortable in the makeshift role while Danjuma had a field day against him. Was unable to offer much in attack either. Has started every game so far and could do with a rest.
Eder Militao: 7.5/10
Is starting to look comfortable while playing the high line. Covered for his fellow defenders effectively and made some clever and crucial interventions all through the game to keep the threat at bay. Assured and composed with the ball at his feet as well. Headed wide in the second half when he could have put the team in front, which was the only blot on the copybook for the Brazilian.
David Alaba: 8/10
A top-notch display from the Austrian, who is swiftly growing into a crucial player for Real Madrid. Read the game well and was alert to step out and nip attacks in the bud. But it was his long-range passing that stood out on the night as he constantly fed Vinicius Junior with some tasty lobbed balls which posed problems for the visitors.
New CB pairing on the block. 🛡️
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) September 25, 2021
Picked at left-back ahead of the young Miguel Gutierrez, the veteran failed to justify his selection. A turned down penalty claim aside, hardly did anything of note going forward in a game where Real Madrid could have done with natural width on the overlap. Not always solid at the back either, but did make a huge block late in the game to deny a goal, which bumps up his rating.
Marco Asensio: 5/10
Brought back down to earth after his hat-trick against Mallorca starting in midfield. This game provided an indicator that the Spaniard is not cut out for a role in the middle of the park as Villarreal had no problems playing past him while he did not always make the best decisions on the ball. Moved out to the right in the second period but failed to make much of an impact.
Back into the starting XI, the Brazilian looked far from his best on the night and was not helped by the lack of discipline and tracking back from some of his teammates. Still, was not able to impose himself on the proceedings like he does usually and was also guilty of giving away possession cheaply at times.
Luka Modric: 5.5/10
Like Casemiro, Modric, who was also returning after being rested in midweek, looked out of sorts. There were a few moments of quality on the ball but those led to nothing while he was often bypassed the Villarreal players, especially in the first half.
Rodrygo Goes: 5/10
Made a bright start, delivering a dangerous cross for Karim Benzema but faded quite rapidly as he found it hard to make inroads from the right flank. Did not offer defensive support either and was hooked off at half-time.
Karim Benzema: 5.5/10
A rare quiet outing for the Real Madrid superstar who has been in sensational form this season. Tried hard to make things happen but things did not always work out for Benzema who just could not get the better of a stubborn Villarreal defence.
FT: Real Madrid 0-0 Villarreal
This is the first La Liga game that Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr. failed to score or assist this season. pic.twitter.com/hePbmb3N6M
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 25, 2021
Vinicius Junior: 5.5/10
Had his moments on the ball but was largely well-marshalled by the Villarreal defenders. Suffered from the lack of support from his full-back with Nacho not providing much of an outlet. Booked for dissent in the first period.
Eduardo Camavinga: 6/10
On at half-time for Rodrygo. Slotted into the midfield unit, with Asensio moving out wide. Offered energy and industry, but there were a few sloppy moments on the ball.
Eden Hazard: 5/10
On for Modric in the 73rd minute. Not able to make much of an impact.
Sent on for Asensio with less than ten minutes left. Had a headed effort blocked.