The big question for the Real Madrid fans who led the match was how Zidane would be in the face of all injuries. Luka Jovi (Covid) and Karim Benzema (adductor injury) were not available, Casemiro (Covid) and Valverde (a shrapnel fracture) – two of the strongest midfield players – lost, Sergio Ramos (hamstring injury) as well as Idir Militão ( Covid) are both in defense center. Recently recovered Martin Odegaard and Eden Hazard were part of the starting line-up, and Mariano began attacking for the first time in over a year and a half.
It was an up-and-down match in which Real Madrid dominated the first 20 minutes, including scoring the opening goal with Mariano’s header, but Villarreal rebounded in the second half and clinched a well-deserved point. Full match player ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois – 6: With each passing game, he gets more and more involved with the ball at his feet. I had some heart-in-the-mouth moments, with central passes to crossover, but otherwise it performed well with its distribution. Chucuis missed the penalty kick for Villarreal’s equalizer, which Gerrard Moreno sent easily.
Danny Carvajal–7: The right-back showed exemplary fitness levels, returning from a two-month injury and playing in 90 minutes at such a high level. He kept Pedraza in his back pocket and provided Mariano with a perfect pass in the first minute of the match.
Raphael Varane – 7: He rose as captain in the absence of Sergio Ramos. Some critical protests, including a late tackle on Gerard Moreno, were timed in the second half to deny the chance to score.
Nacho – 7: Apart from the 2018/2019 season, Nacho has historically played well with Ramos as the left center back. Today was no different. Three interceptions, two dead ends, and one clearance. Given the emergence of Militao in place of Sergio Ramos, there might be a case that Nacho should be the third choice for the center back.
Ferland Mindy – 6.5: A good fight throughout the match with Gerard Moreno. The French had tracked all his movements and tracked down the striker, who turned the right flank psuedo into central positions to stop the counterattacks. Connected nicely with Hazard, Kroos and Odegaard down left, but has some hard touches and has 17 possession possession times.
Tony Crosse–8: The German was at his best in the first half, playing a quarter-back. He sprayed passes left and right, switched field and organized the first goal. He formed a good relationship with Odegaard and gave the team complete control. Exhaustion and a crash in the Madrid press as well as an improvement in Villarreal’s pressure resulted in Kroos and the entire team falling in the second half.
Luka Modric – 6: Weird match from the Croatian, he wasn’t poor, but he wasn’t at his best either. He had some good dribbling sequences to get out of the pressure, but he also had some uncharacteristically bad passes.
Martin Odegaard – 6.5: He enjoyed himself in the first half with quick touches and good movement as the most advanced midfielder. Produce some precise long balls to switch the playing field from right to Mindy on the left. But his main role is to assist in the offensive organization and fail to produce a basic pass or help the team get more than one shot on goal.
Eden Hazard – 4.5: He struggled to participate in the match and impose his authority on the game. I only tried two quirks, one of them worked. 0 key passes and 0 shots.
Lucas Vasquez-5.5: His effort and movement out of the ball in the defensive phase of the match were impeccable in the first half, but diminished in the second half. Mariano has cut the ball to the wing on more than one occasion as his shots failed to hit the goal. He struggled once Pervis Estupinian entered the match.
Mariano – 8: What more can you ask for from Mariano? He gets one golden chance and takes his chance. His efforts, commitment and desire are never in doubt.
Vinicius Junior – 4: A very weak offer from the Brazilian. It was his passes that were cut short as Real Madrid sought to take advantage of a counterattack. The foul instantly resulted in Villarreal taking a counterattack and collecting a penalty that would give them an equalizer. His passes were generally weak in the last third and he did not bring the dynamism or precision required to help Madrid.
Isco – 5.5: Like change like Martin Odegaard. Isco was a good choice to get out of Villarreal’s pressure, but the rest of the midfield was being overrun and there was a desperate need for an option like Valverde or Casemiro instead of Isco.
Marco Asensio – Does not apply: He entered the game in the last five minutes in favor of Mariano.