In a rare midweek La Liga encounter, Real Madrid thrashed Malaga by a score of 6-2. Los Blancos had trouble early on, but mistakes from the visitors handed Madrid an easy victory.
For now La Liga is still not officially decided. Had Real Madrid not won, their rivals, Barcelona, would have been crowned La Liga champions, and now celebrations will have to wait. But this match taught us a great deal.
Here, we will look at a couple of lessons fans learned from Madrid’s giant win. So continue reading to see what you missed and have your say below.
Note: All statistics are courtesy of Whoscored.com.
Ever since the Croatian made the switch to Real Madrid, he has been terribly inconsistent. Jose Mourinho has worked to find a place for Luka Modric, but nothing seemed set in stone.
However, against Malaga it became official that Modric is very much an important part of this squad.
It has been a while since the midfielder had a bad game, and it appears that he is now comfortable in his new home. But fans will be even more excited that he is showing he can play alongside Mesut Ozil.
Against Malaga, Modric scored a wonderful blast that glanced off the post. But it was more than just his goal that was exciting.
Modric also gave an assist and helped out defensively to a point where the argument can be made that he was the best player on the pitch. Looking forward to next season, Modric will be very important for Los Blancos.
Malaga are getting close to the brink of being a well-known name outside of Spain. But if the match against Real Madrid proves anything, it is that they have a long way to go.
The visitors made several key errors that top clubs would not normally succumb to.
The defense played a pass back to Willy Caballero who handled the ball. Sergio Sanchez dragged down Cristiano Ronaldo in the box for a penalty and straight red. Martin Demichelis picked up a second yellow to be sent off. Carlos Kameni messed up trying to pass the ball and almost conceded.
Mistakes like these have to be cut out. Malaga are still starting something new that will take a while to solidify, but they must begin by making sure to play wise and mature football.
Over the past few seasons, many have begun to think that Jose Mourinho would never give significant chances to the young stars of the Castilla. But it appears as though the club is starting to show faith in its rising stars.
Nacho featured for the entire match and was quite impressive. But it was Fabinho who made his first-team debut that Madridistas will be happy with as the young star showed a lot of promise.
Alvaro Morata has also been given several chances this season, and it now looks like the Real Madrid Castilla stars are ready to shine at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Though the Madrid youth have not had the same amount of time as other clubs, matches like these at least show the hope they have for the future.
Willy Caballero has arguably been the best keeper in Spain over the last few seasons. The Malaga shot-stopper has made countless game-changing saves this season and continues to be the difference-maker for the club.
However, once Kameni replaced Caballero, it was very apparent that something changed for Malaga.
Granted the visitors were on the wrong side of two red cards and a pass-back foul. But it was not just the mistakes made that showed the club’s reliance on Caballero. Without the keeper on the pitch, Malaga’s defense looked lost.
Malaga have boasted one of the best defenses in the world this season and it is now very apparent why. This club needs Willy Caballero, and without him, it takes a significant dip in structure and form.
We now turn our attention from lessons to fact. With his ferocious six-yard strike, Cristiano Ronaldo became only the sixth Real Madrid player to score 200 goals for the club.
The Portuguese star accomplished the feat in only 197 games, meaning he is averaging just over one goal per game. No one else who has played for Real Madrid can make a claim like that.
So this was not just a night for Real Madrid and nightmare for Malaga. This was the night for Ronaldo to receive the praising chants falling down from the thousands in attendance at the Santiago Bernabeu.
This season will not end the way Real Madrid had hopped. The Copa del Rey final is weeks away and will be the only major title the club plays for. But Cristiano Ronaldo has certainly pulled his weight despite what the team has accomplished.
Cristiano Ronaldo, take a bow. You have set a milestone at one of the greatest football clubs in history. Next up is overtaking Raul as Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer.
What are your takeaways from the thrilling match at the Santiago Bernabeu? What did the win mean for the players? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on Malaga, Real Madrid and La Liga.