Real Madrid hosted Athletic Bilbao in one of the more difficult games for Zinedine Zidane as they came out with a very convincing win but there were many questions to be asked about the defending.

Starting Lineup:

Zinedine Zidane made a couple changes to the starting lineup with an eye on the UEFA Champions League game against AS Roma. The starting eleven consisted of:

Keylor Navas, Danilo, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos [C], Daniel Carvajal, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, James Rodriguez, Mateo Kovacic, Cristiano  Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema

Scorers:

Real Madrid –
Cristiano Ronaldo (3′)
James Rodriguez (37′)
Toni Kroos (45′)
Cristiano Ronaldo (87′)

Athletic Bilbao –
Eraso (10′)
Gorka Elustundo (90′)

Cristiano Ronaldo:

Cristiano Ronaldo was playing against his favorite opponent so of course he was going to get the ball in the back of the net at least once! The Portuguese has now scored 15 goals in 15 games against the Basque team. He may not be the same Cristiano Ronaldo that we all have fallen in love with since 2009, but any talk of him being “finished” is absurd.

James Rodriguez:

When Real Madrid signed James Rodriguez for 80 Million, we were all astonished by the amount paid for a player who hasn’t really proven himself much and made his name in the World Cup. During last season, many Madridistas have admired him and realized why such a big amount was paid for his services. Now, we are wondering why we bought him once again. Against Athletic Bilbao, he was able to show glimpses of his magic once again and, with time, I’m sure he will be back! Everyone goes through a rough patch.

Toni Kroos:

Yet another masterful performance by Toni Kroos under the guidance of Zinedine Zidane. The German midfielder commanded his position brilliantly and continues to show that he is indispensable to this Real Madrid side. He was also able to get his name on the score-sheet with a very well-taken shot to score his first goal of the season.

KROOS

Mateo Kovacic:

Last week, against Granada, Mateo Kovacic came on and showed why he could be so important to this side. Isco was rested for the match against Athletic Bilbao with Kovacic taking his place and having yet another magnificent performance! It will be very difficult to keep him on the bench for long as Zidane will now need to think of rotating players more often with the introduction of the UEFA Champions League.

My Personal Player Ratings:

Keylor Navas: 8.5/10
Danilo: 7.5/10
Raphael Varane: 5/10
Sergio Ramos: 8/10
Daniel Carvajal: 8.5/10
Toni Kroos: 9.5/10
Luka Modric: 9.5/10
James Rodriguez: 8/10
Mateo Kovacic: 9/10
Cristiano Ronaldo: 8.5/10
Karim Benzema: 8/10

Zinedine Zidane: 7.5/10
Zinedine Zidane did well by starting with Mateo Kovacic but the problem arises when he decided to take of Danilo and put Nacho in his place knowing that Raphael Varane was on a yellow card and simply wasn’t himself on the night. Real Madrid ended the match with 10 players after Varane got himself in the book once again and was sent off.

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