It wasn’t the prettiest Real Madrid game you’ll see this year but Los Merengues were able to get the job done with a slightly flattering 4-1 win against Almeria to record their 20th consecutive win.

Starting Lineup:

Carlo Ancelotti named a very strong starting lineup against Almeria even though the squad were scheduled for a very hectic week as they have to go to Morocco in order to play in the Club World Cup. The starting lineup consisted of:

Iker Casillas [C], Daniel Carvajal, Pepe, Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Asier Illarramendi, Gareth Bale, Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema

Scorers:

Almeria –
Verza (39′)

Real Madrid –
Isco (34′)
Gareth Bale (42′)
Cristiano Ronaldo (81′)
Cristiano Ronaldo (88′)

Credit Where It’s Due:

Before talking about specific Real Madrid players, something really has to be said about Almeria who have had a terrible season so far. After sacking their manager, they had the interim manager against Real Madrid and, for the first time this season, they showed their true capabilities. They attacked, defended, and played beautifully to keep Los Blancos on edge during the game! Almeria are quite unlucky to be coming out of the game with nothing but they really deserve the recognition at least for a wonderful job on the night.

Pepe:

Not too long ago, many were supporting the idea that would see Pepe leave the club. I wonder what their thoughts on the matter are now? Pepe played beautifully just like he has done all season. The Portuguese defender bleeds the Real Madrid colours and his determination should never be questioned. He doesn’t think twice about going into challenges and his timing is absolutely perfect.

Asier Illarramendi:

Asier Illarramendi was chosen to start again with the injuries to Luka Modric and James Rodriguez. Since he started playing this season, I think his game against Almeria was maybe the worst one so far. Not that he didn’t do well, he did his job as expected to a certain extent, but he simply could not keep up with the flow of the game. I rate Illarramendi quite highly and I think that all he needs is more confidence and playing time. We have all seen his true capabilities and we know what type of footballer he is. With experience, there is a lot to come from this midfielder.

Isco:

What a player. Isco was Real Madrid’s best player against Almeria as he was enthusiastic from the opening minute. The Spanish midfielder never disappoints and this game was no exception. On top of his runs, passes, and dribbles, he was able to score a fantastic goal to open the scoring and give Real Madrid some breathing space for a bit. Another wonderful performance from Isco and I’m sure we will be seeing many more to come.

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Marcelo:

Marcelo was on fire against Almeria! The Brazilian left-back was all over the place and was extremely influential in attack as Real Madrid kept trying to find ways to penetrate the solid Almeria defence. Marcelo’s only mistake was giving away the penalty (which was saved by Iker Casillas) but other than that he was playing his game to perfection. Marcelo keeps on improving and showing his true worth to the club.

Club World Cup:

Real Madrid now prepare for the upcoming Club World Cup this week as they plan for another chance to win silverware. This will be a maximum of two games as Los Merengues are playing their first game in the semi-finals and the second in the final (if they make it through). Their opponent for the semi-finals will be known later today.

My Personal Player Ratings:

Iker Casillas – 8.5/10
Daniel Carvajal – 8/10
Pepe – 9/10
Raphael Varane – 8.5/10
Marcelo – 8.5/10
Toni Kroos – 9/10
Asier Illarramendi – 7/10
Gareth Bale – 7.5/10
Isco – 9/10
Cristiano Ronaldo – 8/10
Karim Benzema – 8/10

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