It would be great to talk about Real Madrid as being back in business with the juices flowing. But that isn’t really the case following their deceptively big 4-0 win over Getafe on Sunday.
The truth of that La Liga tie is that it was around 15 minutes of fantastic football, scintillating counterattacks and satisfied grins all around. The other 75 minutes were a struggle—most of which being too boring to even wish to remember.
But it would have been easy to assume that last week’s emphatic 5-0 win at Valencia was just a one-off. The Madrid players were winding up Jose Mourinho and teasing everyone else, maybe even themselves. It was a performance of the highest quality and hugely contrasting to much of what happened during this past weekend’s mini Madrid derby.
Maybe it was just the early kickoff that forced the Real Madrid players into a flat-footed approach to the game. Perhaps this season they simply aren’t as good as that Valencia win made us believe, though, certainly not due to a lack of ability.
The match came alive just after the hour, and Madrid were already 1-0 up at that point following a scrappy goal by Sergio Ramos. But Cristiano Ronaldo then led the rest of the attack and moved through the gears at pace, dismantling Getafe and putting the game beyond doubt.
Going into the match, the big talking point was Iker Casillas’ injury and the signing of Diego Lopez from Sevilla which followed. The fallout from the game should be of concern as to whether we will see a fully revitalised Real Madrid firing on all fronts and ready for the test awaiting from Manchester United.
Ronaldo scored a hat trick and left the pitch to wild applause when Mourinho decided he’d earned his pay and was deserving of rest ahead of Wednesday’s Clasico. And more than anything, the roaring of the crowd seemed to be a plea from the fans for Ronaldo to remain in Madrid to help battle the sorcery from Catalonia.
As impressive as Ronaldo was, it’s becoming a running theme to heavily praise the work of Sami Khedira. The German international has been Madrid’s most consistent player this season (barring Ronaldo) and really put in the necessary leg work to help swing the tie in Madrid’s favour.
Mesut Ozil again played a notable role in the result, helping himself to an assist for Ronaldo’s first. Luka Modric, perhaps starting to find more confidence, won the penalty and looked to raise his game following Khedira’s halftime arrival.
The final score arguably flattered Real Madrid, because for all their might in that small time frame, anything else could have happened in a dull and lacklustre first 45.
Antonio Adan: 5
Antonio Adan had a quiet game but looked comfortable early on. We saw nothing much from him; he would have been happy that the spotlight remained well away.
Sergio Ramos: 7
A goal on the day and a temporary move back to the right-back position. Sergio Ramos took up the centre-back spot in the second half and remained Madrid’s best defender.
Ricardo Carvalho: 6
Ricardo Carvalho could prove to be very useful as the season continues. He once again showed his veteran quality and kept things simple. In fairness, like most of the defence, he had little to do.
Raul Albiol: 5
Raul Albiol only lasted 45 minutes before he was replaced. Nothing particularly stands out from his performance, but he’ll need to do more if he’s to prove he’s the better option over Carvalho.
Fabio Coentrao: 7
Fabio Coentrao displayed great adventure in his game, helping to form a good attacking partnership with Ronaldo on the left flank and showing a level of attacking threat that hasn’t always been obvious. He’s a very good defender, but if he can consistently provide that attacking side to his game, he will surely take many more games ahead of Marcelo.
Michael Essien: 6
Another tidy performance from Michael Essien, starting the game in midfield before taking up the right-back spot and allowing Ramos to move into the middle. He is no Sami Khedira and doesn’t offer anywhere near what the German contributes. But in low-key games such as this, Essien is proving to be a useful member of the squad.
Luka Modric: 6
Nothing spectacular from Luka Modric, but he had a better game in the second half.
Angel Di Maria: 7
Angel Di Maria showed both sides of his game on Sunday: the fantastic attacking threat that Mourinho needs him to be, and the poor corner that draws the frustration. Madrid will need to see more of his game from the second half if they’re to make waves for the remainder of the season.
Mesut Ozil: 8
Mesut Ozil was excellent again and was at the heart of most of Madrid’s attacking work. He certainly should have had a goal of his own, but the role of creator remains his most important for the team.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 9
It should be worth noting that much of Ronaldo’s final grade is due to his contribution on the score sheet. He’s the player that can be counted on when the team need someone to stand up in front of goal and make the difference. But for other phases of the game he was as uninspired as the rest of the team.
Gonzalo Higuain: 6
Gonzalo Higuain will have to do plenty more to prove he’s deserving of a starting spot over Karim Benzema. The Argentine was nowhere near as impressive as the attacking three just behind him, but hopefully it is just a case of rustiness following a recent injury.
Sami Khedira: 7
Sami Khedira offered much more in midfield following his introduction, working hard at both ends of the pitch and allowing others the freedom to create. Such is the intensity of his game; he could have had a goal of his own soon after coming on.
Jose Callejon: 6
Jose Callejon continues to work hard for Madrid, but his substitution didn’t provide much once the high point of the match was over.
Karim Benzema 5
Karim Benzema didn’t have enough time to make an impact. His rest would have been vital for the Clasico this week.