Real Madrid player ratings as Cristiano Ronaldo gets 6 and Sergio Ramos 5

Andy West 23/12/2017
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Real Madrid were at the receiving end of a 3-0 thrashing by rivals Barcelona as Ernesto Valverde’s men increased the gap between the two teams to 14 points.

Here we take a look at the player ratings for Real Madrid.

Navas 6. Made a great reflex save to tip Paulinho’s powerful first half strike over the bar. No chance for the first two goals but should have kept out Vidal’s shot in stoppage time.

Carvajal 7. Made an early statement of intent by winning the corner for Ronaldo’s disallowed goal, and continued to get forward regularly. Perhaps his best team’s best player until he was rightly sent off for a deliberate handball.

Varane 5. Was often troubled by Suarez’s aggressive running, looking harried and uncertain especially in the second half when his team’s midfield went missing.

Daniel Carvajal

Ramos 5. His frustration was summed up when he was booked for an ugly swipe on Suarez. Came close to scoring with a late shot at the near post.

Marcelo 4. A frequent attacking threat in the first half, delivering the cross for Benzema’s header against the upright. But he could have done a lot more to prevent Barca’s opener and was defensively abject in the second period.

Modric 6. Excellent between the lines of midfield and attack in the first half, but nowhere to be seen when Barca took over in the second.

Casemiro 5. Clumsy in possession and failed to do his main job in the second half, giving his defence scant protection from Barca’s repeated attacks through the middle.

Kovacic 5. A surprise selection in the centre of midfield and initially did a tidy job in preventing Barca from building possession, but he was terrible in the second half as Barca ran rings around him.

Karim Benzema 1

Kroos 6. The selection of Kovacic allowed him to play in a more advanced role than usual and he got into several good positions in the first half, but – like the rest of Madrid’s midfield – he disappeared after the break.

Benzema 5. Linked play nicely in the first half and unlucky not to score with a glanced header against the right post. Invisible after the break and sacrificed by Zidane when Carvajal was sent off.

Ronaldo 6. Always a goal threat. In the first half he had a header disallowed for offside, fluffed a great chance with an air shot and forced ter Stegen into a low save with an angled drive. But he contributed next to nothing outside the box.

SUBS

Nacho 5. Introduced after Carvajal’s red card, slotting into the vacant right-back slot but looking ill at ease as Barca regularly threatened down his flank.

Bale 7. Came on for the last 15 minutes and did well down the right, showing plenty of purpose and forcing two saves from Ter Stegen with decent efforts.

Asensio 5. Appeared from the bench at the same time as Bale but had no impact.

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Real Madrid's FIFA Club World Cup success drives Toni Kroos on for more glory in 2018

Matt Jones 18/12/2017
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Club World Cup winners for a third time: Real Madrid.

Toni Kroos insists he is relishing a challenging 2018 ahead as Real Madrid look to claw back La Liga leaders Barcelona and emulate a record haul of five trophies in 2017.

Los Blancos are ending the year in style – lifting the FIFA Club World Cup title in Abu Dhabi on Saturday seeing them claim a quintuple of silverware for the first time in a calendar year.

Domestically though, Real are eight points behind leaders Barca, down in fourth place. But history was made at Zayed Sports City Stadium, as Real drew level on three Club World Cup titles with the Blaugrana – the famed Spanish rivals jointly hold the most.

In addition, Madrid became the first club to retain the trophy in its current guise.

Adding the Club World Cup to the Champions League, La Liga, UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup provides a boost as Real head into the first Clasico clash of the season with Barca on Saturday hoping to reduce the gap – although Germany midfielder Kroos claims he and his colleagues need no special motivation for a “special” game.

“For this game (Clasico) you don’t need anything before, any special motivation,” he said when asked after Saturday’s 1-0 win in the final over Copa Libertadores champions Gremio of the importance of the win heading into the Barca clash.

“It’s better of course to go back to Madrid with a good feeling, but this game is special, whatever happened before.”

Pressed on pursuing Barca in the new year and looking ahead to a mouthwatering Champions League last 16 tie with French giants Paris Saint-Germain in February, the 2014 World Cup winner added: “The secret to more success next year is motivation and hunger.

“We are a little bit behind in the league and maybe we can close the gap in a few days, but we will still be behind so it will be difficult to win the league. But we will try, for sure.

“We have the next round of the Champions League too, which is 50/50, so it will be difficult. We won it back to back but it’s never easy to do. But we will try. That’s all we can do.

“(I’m looking forward to facing PSG) because the experience from the past year is you have to beat the best to win this competition.

“We did last year. We played Bayern (Munich), Atletico Madrid, Juventus, who put out Barcelona. You need to play the best and the best is always a challenge, and I like that.”

Kroos revealed victory in the Emirates was the easiest of the five accolades earned by mighty Madrid this year, but he said glory in the toughest competition, their arduous road to Champions League triumph, led them to the UAE.

“It’s been a special year. Five trophies is crazy. It means a lot because we represent the club and it’s great if you do it in a good way,” said the 27-year-old.

“Maybe at the end you can say this is the easiest title to win, the biggest challenge is to arrive here because you have to win the Champions League.

“At the end of the year though it’s never easy because you have a long trip here, an important game, and the ones beforehand. As always, when you win another trophy, it’s always special.”

Here it is! #HalaMadrid

A post shared by Toni Kroos (@toni.kr8s) on

Real claimed back to back Club World Cup titles thanks to talisman Cristiano Ronaldo’s sole goal in the capital – a thumping free-kick eight minutes into the second half.

The goal created further history for the Portuguese powerhouse, who stretched his lead at the top of the competition’s highest ever scorers.

Ronaldo, 32, has seven goals in eight Club World Cup matches – two more than Barca duo Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, and Monterrey’s Cesar Delgado.

Ronaldo was criticised by Argentine great Maradona and even Gremio coach Renato Portaluppi leading into the Club World Cup – ex-Brazil international Portaluppi claiming the five-time Balon d’Or winner was not a better player than him.

But Kroos laughed off criticism of his teammate.

“I don’t know what they said but this is good for the press,” said Kroos.

“At the end we know on the pitch he tries to help us and score. He did this in both matches and we don’t need to speak about how important he is for us.”

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Vazquez was certain Ronaldo would score in Club World Cup final

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Keeping the faith: Vazquez and Ronaldo.

Lucas Vazquez revealed after Real Madrid‘s Club World Cup success that he knew Cristiano Ronaldo would score in the final against Gremio.

Portugal forward Ronaldo, this year voted Best FIFA Men’s Player and winner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or award for a fifth time, got the only goal of the game after 53 minutes with a superb free-kick.

Substitute Vazquez told his club’s official website after the Abu Dhabi success: “Before the game, I told Cristiano I was sure he was going to score and that’s why he ran to me for the celebration.

“We’re thrilled. It’s a team success and I hope we can improve on it in 2018.”

The forward’s sentiments were echoed by his team-mates after Real retained their title, making sure of a fifth trophy of 2017 following success in LaLiga, the Champions League, Spanish Super Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

France defender Raphael Varane added: “It has not been easy. You have to congratulate the whole team. Winning five titles is very complicated.

“We know how difficult it is to win these finals, we are very happy. We know this team has talent and we will continue to fight to win more titles.”

Germany international Toni Kroos said: “This year has been a long journey, but we had a challenge and knew we could do this.”

For fellow midfielder Casemiro, the latest success was a dream come true.

The Brazilian explained: “When I arrived at Real Madrid I was hungry to win titles. That was my dream, I wanted to write my story in the best possible fashion – and I’ve won 10 already.

“I’m motivated to keep working hard and I hope there are many more to come. I’d sign up now to finish every year just like this. It’s been a wonderful year.”

“We had to really dig deep to win this Club World Cup. We put in a complete performance and we have to congratulate the players because we were up against a good team in Gremio, who I know well from Brazil.

“I never imagined I’d win so many trophies when I came to Real Madrid but I did dream about it, so that’s why it’s such an honour to be part of this team.

“We’ve had a wonderful year and the dressing room has been a happy place. We need to keep making history and enjoying this team because we’ve got a great squad.”

Acknowledging the contribution of Ronaldo, the 25-year-old added: “It’s a young but experienced group, with the best player in the world as well. We have to keep enjoying ourselves.”

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