Real Madrid began the 2015-2016 La Liga season by visiting newly promoted Sporting Gijon but it ended in misery as they came out with only one point in a game they expected to get all three easily.

Starting Lineup:

Rafael Benitez named his first ever official starting lineup as Real Madrid manager with some surprises as players like Dani Carvajal and James Rodriguez on the bench.  The starting lineup consisted of:

Keylor Navas, Danilo, Sergio Ramos [C], Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Jese Rodriguez

Scorers:

Sporting Gijon –
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Real Madrid –
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First Game Of The Season:

It was the first game of the season and many expected Real Madrid to show their capabilities early on. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case as they didn’t seem quite prepared for the game. Sporting Gijon were able to control themselves and not let Los Merengues build up their play whatsoever. We saw numerous passes and attempts that didn’t work out as the hosts were doing everything in their power to keep Real Madrid’s players uncomfortable for the 90 minutes. It worked and they were able to come out with a very important point to kick-start their season.

Debuts:

The Real Madrid fans were able to witness the debuts of three people in the team against Sporting Gijon:

  1. Rafael Benitez: Benitez made his managerial debut for Real Madrid and, even though it didn’t end in the way that he was hoping it would, there were still a few positives from the match. Los Merengues will definitely need to improve though and the fans will be hoping to see that in the coming matches.
  2. Danilo: The right-back started the game and looked comfortable throughout most of it. He made some great defensive moves while also showing that he is quite good when it comes to crossing the ball. He may not be the best attacking full-back, but he is definitely someone that can add something to this team.
  3. Mateo Kovacic: Kovacic came on as a substitute during the second half and therefore, we weren’t really able to see much from him. The Croatian midfielder will need some time to get used to his new surroundings and there is no doubt that he will have some great games during the season.

Mateo Kovacic

Communication:

I wasn’t expecting to watch a perfect Real Madrid game as it’s still quite early in the season but I didn’t expect us to have a problem with communication! From the start of the match until the end, it seemed like the players haven’t really played together much or just are facing some weird unexpected problems in regards to their communication. Either way, this is definitely a red flag for Rafa Benitez and is something he will need to work on extremely soon.

Formation Change?

Rafael Benitez is known for changing positions around and trying to make sure that, at least defensively, things are going well. The problem is that Real Madrid faced many problems up front and that could be because he simply moved the formation around quite a bit that left the players quite unfamiliar with everything happening. I’m not sure what he has in mind exactly but all I know is that things really need to be organized soon since this confusion could break us early in the season.

My Personal Player Ratings:

Keylor Navas: 8.5/10
Danilo: 8/10
Sergio Ramos: 9/10
Raphael Varane: 7/10
Marcelo: 8/10
Toni Kroos: 8/10
Luka Modric: 7.5/10
Isco: 8.5/10
Gareth Bale: 7/10
Cristiano Ronaldo: 7/10
Jese Rodriguez: 7.5/10

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