Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: Rating Both Sets of Players
For the second Clasico in a row, the greatest rivals in Europe again put on an exciting display. Many stars were not in the lineup, but that did not stop the match from being intense.
Real Madrid opened the match with a goal through Karim Benzema. But Barcelona eventually answered back through some Lionel Messi brilliance. However, it was the winning goal of Sergio Ramos that sealed the night in Real Madrid's favor.
Some players shone while others floundered. But at the end of the day this was a yet another Clasico for the fans.
With this win Real Madrid looks like they are now at their strongest. But the loss is now giving serious worry to what is happening to the once unstoppable Barcelona.
In this article we will rate the players in the Clasico encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu. Shall we begin?
Note: All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com.
The Clasico Keepers
Diego Lopez: 7/10
The Real Madrid keeper put in a solid performance on the night. Lopez was not called into action very often, but did well when he was challenged. Despite being a victim of Messi magic, Lopez really showed up in this one.
Victor Valdes: 7/10
Valdes made a few giant stops on the night, but still saw two shots find the back of his net. Though neither shot could have easily been saved, Valdes needed to do more. His antics at the end of the game see his rating drop, but his anger was understandable after a terrible decision from the referee.
Real Madrid Fullbacks
Michael Essien: 7/10
Essien had a very average night. The on-loan utility man made a few key stops, but nothing really special came from Essien in El Clasico. David Villa got the better of him on the night, but not many times.
Fabio Coentrao: 6/10
The Portuguese left back did not have a strong showing at the Bernabeu. He was beaten several times by both Pedro and Dani Alves. Coentrao had a better night in attack, but his defensive efforts cold have cost his team.
Dani Alves: 8/10
Alves again showed some of his best work in El Clascio. His assist to Messi was superb as was his efforts going forward. The Brazilian could have had a better night defensively and that sees his rating lower than it could have been.
Jordi Alba: 5.5/10
To be completely honest, this may have been Alba's worst performance in a Barcelona jersey. The Catalan left back was caught out of position a lot and gave the ball away too many times. He looked very strong in attack, but defense must come first.
Real Madrid Center Defenders
Sergio Ramos: 7/10
On the night, Ramos was very lacking in defense. He was beaten by Messi and was struggling to make stops on several occasions. Ramos only had one tackle on the night, but two fouls. The defender deserves a lower grade but his winning goal gives him a boost.
Raphael Varane: 8/10
The French starlet again showed that he is going to be one of the best defenders in the world. Varane put intense pressure on Messi and stifled much of the Barcelona attack. Varane has to be tired of taking bows by this point.
Barcelona Center Defenders
Gerard Pique: 7.5/10
Pique is turning out to be a leader in defense when Carles Puyol is missing. The Catalan defender make several key stops on the night, but was found out at the most important moments of the game.
Javier Macherano: 7/10
The Argentine defender started the game in a terrible way. He did not cover Karim Benzema which resulted in a goal. But the remainder of the game was very strong from Mascherano. He continues to make key stops despite poor positioning.
Real Madrid Midfielders
The Real Madrid defender made a strong appearance in the midfield. His defensive strength paid dividends as he shut down much of the Barcelona play in the center of the pitch. The strongest part of Pepe's night, however, was his attacking presence.
Brazilian midfielder Kaka has been trying to break into the starting lineup for some time. Though he has been deserving of a start lately, he definitely regressed in El Clasico. Kaka did very little and was almost non existent on the pitch.
Luka Modric: 8/10
The Croatian midfielder has struggled since he joined Los Blancos. But against Barcelona, Modric showed his best side. His defensive stops and wonderful attacking plays greatly impressed Madridistas everywhere.
Sergio Busquets: 8/10
Certainly one of Barcelona's strongest performers on the night, Busquets was forced to cover the defense heavily. The Catalan midfielder won possession several times and had an outstanding 95 percent passing rating.
There is no question that Thiago is Xavi's successor. The Spaniard performed greatly in El Clasico, but his age was showcased as well. Thiago still has a lot to learn, but when on his game he is one of the best players on the pitch.
Andres Iniesta: 7/10
After moving back to the midfield, Cules expected Iniesta to show up big time at the Bernabeu. However, Iniesta had a very quiet night for Barcelona and did very little in attack. Fans will be hoping for a rebound performance for Iniesta in his next game.
Real Madrid Forwards
Jose Callejon: 8/10
Callejon is turning out to be a revelation for Real Madrid. His attacking presence was dominant against Jordi Alba on the night and his speed tormented the Barcelona back line. But his efforts in defense give Callejon a very strong rating.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
The Madrid striker began the game in an exciting way with an opening goal. But the rest of the game saw Benzema almost invisible.
Alvaro Morata: 9/10
What a performer Mourinho has in the young Morata. His assist to begin the game was beautiful to say this least. Morata posed a constant threat in attack and immense cover in defense. Possibly the best performer on the night and nearly scored a goal himself.
David Villa: 7.5/10
Spain's all-time leading scorer needed a strong showing against Real Madrid. Villa performed very well on the night and utilized space to aid his partners in attack. But Villa needed to pose more of a scoring threat for La Blaugrana.
Pedro did not pose much of a threat at the Bernabeu. His defending was certainly the highlight of the night, but Pedro needed to help his partners in attack. Pedro should have been subbed off at halftime, but the move was not made.
Lionel Messi: 8/10
Messi was again forced out his favorite positions due to the defense of Raphael Varane. But the Argentine star did well to get his teammates involved which eventually led to a goal for himself.
Real Madrid Substitutes
Cristiano Ronaldo: 7/10
For not having much time on the pitch, Ronaldo made a lot of noise. His six total shots caused problems for Valdes and helped open up the attack for his teammates. Ronaldo receives a seven due to his lack of time on the pitch.
Alvaro Arbeloa: 5/10
The Spanish defender entered the game in second half and did very little. The one highlight on the night for Arbeloa was his cynical tackle on Alexis Sanchez.
Sami Khedira: 6/10
The German enforcer did not play badly in any way. But, Khedira did very little in his time on the pitch.
Adriano entered the game in hopes of revitalizing the Barcelona attack. But the Brazilian utility man did very little, but was the victim of a bad decision from the referee. The attacker was brought down in the box in a clear penalty decision but was not awarded despite his efforts.
Cristian Tello: 6/10
The young winger is quickly making his claim that he deserves more minutes. In his little time in the match, Tello used his intense speed to make things very difficult for Los Blancos. Tello deserves a higher rating, but his lack of playing time brings his rating down.
Alexis Sanchez: 7/10
Alexis Sanchez surprisingly played well after being brought on for David Villa. The Chilean beat his defender several times, but did very little else.
How would you rate the performers in El Clasico? Who was the man of the match? Don't forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.
Tre' Atkinson. Follow me on twitter for more discussions on Barcelona, Real Madrid and La Liga.