Karim Benzema had an off night while Eder Militao and Toni Kroos impressed as Real Madrid were held to a goalless draw at home by a lowly Cadiz side.
Real Madrid were in control from kick-off at Santiago Bernabeu but could not create many clear-cut opportunities against a Cadiz side who set up with a deep block and defended resolutely, not giving their hosts an inch. As a result, Los Blancos were largely relegated to efforts from a distance which hardly troubled the relegation battlers.
Real Madrid posed a bit more threat after the break, with Eden Hazard starting to come into his own. The Belgian had an effort saved, and a penalty shout waved away, while Vinicius Junior also saw a shot stopped. At the other end, Cadiz did not create much barring a chance on the counter for Alvaro Negredo, who sent his strike wide.
Karim Benzema, who had a quiet night, also saw a strike stopped by the Cadiz goalkeeper as Carlo Ancelotti’s men failed to find a breakthrough. Sevilla’s win over Atletico Madrid on Saturday, coupled with this result, means Real Madrid have only a six-point lead at the top, which could potentially be halved, seeing as Los Nervionenses have a game in hand.
Here are our player ratings for the Real Madrid stars after a disappointing outcome against Cadiz.
Real Madrid Player Ratings
Thibaut Courtois: 6/10
A spectator pretty much for the entire game as Real Madrid hogged possession, which meant Cadiz never really posed a threat to his goal. He helped start attacks from the back with his passes.
Lucas Vazquez: 5/10
He came into the side in place of the injured Dani Carvajal but failed to make any impact. Not troubled at the back, Vazquez also was given space and time to push forward, but he was unable to offer any quality service from the right, constantly giving away possession with mishit crosses and misplaced passes. Improved after the break.
Eder Militao: 7.5/10
Another game where the Brazilian did not put a foot wrong. While he did not have a lot of defending to do, Madrid’s high-line meant that they could have been susceptible to counterattacks. But he ensured that there were no such threats with his recovery pace and physical strength against Anthony Lozano, while his passing from the back was precise and accurate.
— Cádiz CF 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@Cadiz_CFEN) December 19, 2021
David Alaba: 7/10
Solid like his defensive partner, Alaba ensured that Cadiz did not pose any threat on the break while he also helped build play up with his distribution from the back. Perhaps, could have been asked to push further up the pitch as he has that ability to cut through oppositions with his vision and passing.
Ferland Mendy: 5/10
Not troubled defensively, Mendy had the licence to get up the pitch and have an impact in the attacking third but failed to take the initiative. He was passive in his distribution, often picking the safe option instead of trying to carve out openings.
Federico Valverde: 6/10
Brought into the lineup in place of Luka Modric, the Uruguayan came close to scoring with a rasping effort from a distance in the first half. Lacked the creative influence from midfield to unlock the visitors’ defence.
Very lucky to escape with just a yellow card for a reckless challenge in the first half. He kept the ball moving well and played a few long passes that led to opportunities for his attacking teammates. The yellow card means he will miss Real Madrid’s next game, although he will be glad it will be just one match.
Toni Kroos: 7.5/10
Stats 📊 | Toni Kroos vs. Cádiz:
👟 Accurate passes – 96.1%
🔑 Key passes – 9
☄️ Crosses (acc.) – 9(4)
⚽️ Long balls (acc.) – 11(10)
💥 Shots on target – 2 pic.twitter.com/gWdHAd5tWE
— Seputar Real Madrid® (@SeputarMadrid) December 20, 2021
The entire burden of creativity fell on the shoulders of the German in the absence of Modric and the failure of the full-backs to offer much quality going forward. And he stood up to it, playing as many as nine key passes on the night while he also tried to force the issue by taking aim at goal from a distance even though he was unable to bulge the net. He deserved to finish with at least one assist on the night.
Eden Hazard: 6.5/10
Reinstated into the starting XI after Rodrygo, Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale were sidelined due to Covid. The Belgian endured a frustrating first half during which he could not get into the game. Looked much better after the break, though, fashioning a couple of chances for his teammates while having a header saved. Ended the game with five key passes completed. A start of something better for Hazard?
Karim Benzema: 5/10
Looked off-colour and uninspiring at the top, failing to put away chances that he usually would with ease. The deep block from the visitors did not help matters, and even though there were some good moments of link-up play, the Frenchman was not at his sharpest on the night. Perhaps, he took this message from Cadiz a bit too seriously.
🎂 Happy birthday @Benzema
😜 Take the day off and celebrate your birthday with family and friends!
For you there’s no need to go to work today 😉 https://t.co/46KpPYkoiD
— Cádiz CF 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@Cadiz_CFEN) December 19, 2021
Vinicius Junior: 5/10
Like Benzema, Vinicius Junior also endured an off night as Cadiz did a fine job of keeping him quiet. The visiting team did not allow him much space to run inside from the left and looked to force him out wide regularly, from where his crosses were ineffective.
Luka Jovic: 5/10
On for Valverde in the 70th minute as Ancelotti searched for a goal. He was involved in a move or two, but nothing of note.
Late sub for Mendy.