Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Rating Both Sets of Players in the First Clasico
The first leg of the Spanish Supercopa is now over, and Barcelona has a 3-2 lead over Real Madrid.
La Blaugrana dominated possession by holding the ball 73 percent of the time. They came down from a goal to nil and built a strong 3-1 lead.
However, in the end, Real Madrid did not give up. They found a vital second away goal after a huge mistake from Victor Valdes.
The visitors left Camp Nou with a strong result and will be very happy with the final score.
Before we start looking toward the second leg, let's review and rate each player's performance in the opener.
Ratings will be measured on a 10-point scale.
3.5—The keeper had a solid night overall, but his late mistake could cost Barcelona the tie. Fans will be hoping another player is brought in soon.
Marc-André ter Stegen would look good in Blaugrana, don't you think?
6.5—It took the Brazilian almost a half to really get involved in the attack, but once he did, Barcelona looked more dangerous and were able to put more bodies in the box.
7—He failed to put a real stamp on the game, but that isn't really a bad thing. With his team dominating possession and with Los Merengues having few chances, the center-back not being the focus of attention is probably a good thing.
He did well to get forward often, and he gave Mascherano a lot of freedom and held Benzema in check. Pique also helped prevent Madrid from taking a single shot in the first half, so that is promising for Barça's defense going forward.
8—The Argentinian made a few nice tackles and blocked two shots, but his best play was the stellar pass that set up Pedro's goal.
He worked hard all over the pitch and was key on both sides of the ball. Looked the best defender on the team.
5.5—The full-back did not allow Real's wide men many chances, but he did not do much at the other end. The Brazilian did a fine job of swapping defensive duties with Alves, though, and never got caught out of position.
8—Yet another great performance from the midfielder, as he did his job almost flawlessly. His passing, fancy footwork and positioning were the bane of Real's midfield and defense, as he forced a lot of fouls from the opposition.
However, his poor positioning on Ozil's corner allowed Ronaldo to get position on him for the opening goal. Solid other than that, and he was not the only one to blame for the goal.
8—He did everything we've come to expect. Xavi dictated the pace, found the seams in Madrid's defense and controlled the midfield. Started slowly, but as he got more time on the ball, Barcelona got more dangerous.
He also did well to finish Iniesta's master pass on the third goal.
Andres Iniesta—Man of the Match
9.5—"El Ilusionista" was the best player on the pitch in the first leg. In midfield, he was simply a level above the rest.
He was relentless in attacking Madrid all night and set up Messi's penalty when his sleek footwork became too much for Ramos to handle. And the assist...wow.
Iniesta tore through Real Madrid by dancing around three defenders before laying a perfectly weighted pass off for Xavi to finish. Simply peerless.
7—Solid outing from the winger. He attacked often, shot when he found space and was only just off-target on some key passes throughout. He further proved that he is very reliable on the big stage.
7—Not the best performance from the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year. Messi found himself in the middle of a few opportunities, but he failed to capitalize on either of his two decent chances.
He was by no means poor and had a few nice moments, but he was certainly far from his best. Did well to convert his penalty as well.
4—Aside from taking a few dives to win a cheap penalty, the Chilean did little to help his team. Hard-working all night, but effort alone is not always enough.
He was lucky not to have been booked on his last effort, but I suppose the ever-so-slight contact from Ramos kept him off the books.
Cristian Tello 72'
5.5—He worked hard to create space out wide and did better in his 20 minutes on the pitch than Sanchez did before being subbed off.
Cesc Fabregas 83'
He made a few passes, but did not have time to make a real impact on the match.
Jordi Alba 87'
Came on at the very end, so he did not have a chance to do much.
7.5—Madrid's No. 1 had a much better performance than the weekend outing against Valencia, but he still let in three goals. He had little chance of stopping Xavi's shot and can't be blamed for choosing to go inside on Pedro's effort.
Given Messi's record with going to his right on penalties, Casillas probably should have done better, but it would be unfair to criticize a keeper for guessing wrong on a penalty.
5—The right-back let Pedro get behind him too easily and left too many spaces for Iniesta and Xavi to beat him all night. He will need a rest soon, but who does Mourinho have to replace him?
Who was Real Madrid's best player?
5.5—Not a good effort at all from the Spaniard. He was basically a lighter version of Pepe—with less thuggish behavior, but also less quality defending.
His infrequent time on the pitch gives him a little leeway, but it does not excuse poor play. His aggressiveness betrayed him in the end, and he was lucky to not have been carded more than once.
7.5—As typical a performance from the Spaniard as could be. We saw both sides of Ramos tonight.
We saw the brave, smart defender who can read Barça's attack and close lanes, and we saw the reckless Ramos, whose aggressiveness can cost his team.
He caused Iniesta's penalty, and if Sanchez had gotten his way, he would have been responsible for more. Decent outing overall.
8—The full-back was the most consistent defender in white. He shut Sanchez down all night and cannot really be faulted too much for Pedro's goal, which looked offside. Was also in position for the counter when the switch was needed.
6.5—He worked hard to prevent Xavi from having time on the ball and refused to let Barcelona start the attack the middle.
But the German was the first to get embarrassed by Iniesta on his brilliant assist, and that wasn't the first time he let the elusive midfielder by him.
7.5—Very solid match from the midfielder given the difference in possession. He was a bit too careless in the tackle at times, but an early card might have worked to his benefit, as he had to be a bit more controlled after that.
The Spaniard did well to read opposing passes and started the counter almost flawlessly throughout. He was also helpful in attack and set Ozil up for a great chance, but the German was unable to capitalize.
5—Very poor outing from Madrid's No. 10. With a bit more creativity and hard work, he could have allowed his team to leave Catalunya with a victory.
He failed to capitalize on any of his chances, his passing was very poor, and he looked lazy and disinterested for most of the match.
Most of the time he received the ball, he either took too much time to decide where to go with it or spent too much time dribbling without creating any space for his teammates. More is expected from the German.
4.5—I know his name was on the sheet, but was Callejon even on the pitch? He looked lost out wide and ended up playing defense for most of the night. Not a good squad decision by Mourinho.
6.5—CR7 was unfortunately a victim of Mourinho's strategy. He was given very little time on the ball and failed to do much with it when he had it.
When Real did go on the counter, Ronaldo was lacking the usual pace and defense-stretching runs that are signature for him.
6—The Frenchman was sorely under-used in this one. He made a few nice runs, but he was either left without enough support to utilize his space or failed to receive any help from his midfield.
Benzema's poor play just shows how important Ozil is to the team. When the latter isn't on his game, the lone forward suffers, especially with such limited possession.
Real Madrid Subs
Gonzalo Higuain 61'
5.5—Came on for Benzema just after the hour mark, and while he had slightly better play from Ozil, the Argentinian still failed to get any great chances.
Angel Di Maria 66'
7.5—He changed the face of Real's attack almost immediately. Callejon had been useless all night, but Di Maria was much more threatening and forced Barça's defenders further back.
He was also very opportunistic in taking advantage of Valdes' awful mistake. Great match considering his limited time.
Came on too late to do much.
Who was the biggest flop of the match?
Now let's hear from you, readers. What changes would you make to these ratings? Please leave your comments and thoughts below.
Also check out 6 Things We Learned From the Spanish Supercopa 1st Leg.
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