Tracking Performances of Real Madrid, Barcelona Superstars After Weekend Aug. 30

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Tracking Performances of Real Madrid, Barcelona Superstars After Weekend Aug. 30
Alberto Saiz/Associated Press

La Liga's 2014-15 season is underway, and along with our usual team-focused aspects and analysis of the campaign, we're going to be taking a close look at how the biggest stars in the division get on.

Real Madrid spent heavily on James Rodriguez this summer, while Barcelona likewise shelled out on Luis Suarez, giving both sides three top-drawer attackers in each potential starting XI. Add in last summer's big recruits, Neymar and Gareth Bale, and the two best players on the planet, and there should be plenty of interest in how the six progress this season.

Lionel Messi and Neymar

Lionel Messi didn't manage to score but played the 90 minutes as captain for Barcelona in their 1-0 win over Villarreal. He was the most frequent outlet for his side and the creative force moving from the middle to the final thirds, though the impressive home defence did not give much space for his team-mates to run into.

The No. 10 did make a telling contribution, though, when he found room down the right channel to set up the winning goal in the final stages of the game—though he also picked up an injury.

Neymar came off the bench, his first appearance of the season after injury, but he had little telling impact as he struggled to get up to the pace of the game.

Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez

Bale started as an influential performer for Real Madrid as they took a 2-0 lead early on at Real Sociedad, scoring a well-taken goal in the process, his first of the new campaign. A few runs and darts infield off the left flank marked him out as a danger, but he faded badly as his team capitulated and ended up losing 4-2.

James, conversely, barely got into the game early on as a right-sided forward, but once Real Madrid were chasing the game, he found a little more space to operate in and did well in swapping passes and getting a shot away to test the opposition goalkeeper.

Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo

Suarez is of course suspended for some time yet for Barcelona, while Real Madrid's star forward Cristiano Ronaldo missed out through injury.

Matchday Stats Comparison

Real Sociedad vs. Real Madrid and Villarreal vs. Barcelona
Player Mins Played Touches Key Passes Shots On Target Dribbles Assists Goals
Bale 90 57 1 3 1 1 0 1
James 90 61 3 2 1 0 0 0
Messi 90 94 4 8 4 5 0 0
Neymar 31 18 1 3 1 0 0 0

Season Stats Comparison

La Liga, 2014-15 season
Player Appearances Goals Mins per goal Assists Key Passes per game Shots per game Dribbles per game
Messi 2 2 90 0 3.5 5.5 6.0
Neymar 1 0 - 0 1.0 3.0 0
Suarez 0 - - - - - -
Ronaldo 1 1 90 0 2.0 3.0 0
Bale 2 1 180 0 0.5 2.5 0.5
James 2 0 - 0 2.0 3.0 0.5

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