The UEFA Champions League finally returned and it’s no secret that this is the competition that the Real Madrid players feel is always rightfully theirs and they have been able to show it against Napoli with a convincing 3-1 win on the night.

Starting Lineup:

Zinedine Zidane took no chances with the lineup or the formation as his only unexpected move of the night was placing James Rodriguez as a starter. The starting eleven consisted of:

Keylor Navas, Daniel Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos [C], Marcelo, Carlos Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, James Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema


Real Madrid –
Karim Benzema (18′)
Toni Kroos (49′)
Carlos Casemiro (54′)

Napoli –
Lorenzo Insigne (8′)

Keylor Navas:

The goal scored by Lorenzo Insigne should have never gone in and there is no argument about that. Keylor Navas was way too far off his line and Insigne made him pay for it with a very well-placed shot. Having said that, the Costa Rican goalkeeper was a beast throughout the rest of the match with some great saves to keep Real Madrid in the game after the forwards have missed quite a few chances particularly during the first half.

Carlos Casemiro:

What a memorable night for Carlos Casemiro whether we focus on the magnificent goal he scored or his performance throughout the night. The Brazilian was a machine and stopped everything that came his way during the match, while also distributing the ball quite well given the fact that this is usually one of his weaknesses. The goal he scored will be watched again and again by so many Madridistas for a while and it could prove to be an extremely vital goal once the second-leg is over.


Cristiano Ronaldo:

Getting older affects everyone and not a single person can stop it but Cristiano Ronaldo has accepted it with open arms and has shown that he is more than willing to adapt. His game-play against Napoli is extremely different to the Cristiano that we have seen during his first few years with the squad. He was a team player and knew his limits, he know what he can and can’t do as he was able to find players in open positions almost every time he went forward. He got an assist for Toni Kroos’ great goal and could have gotten more if Benzema was able to get the ball in the back of the net.

James Rodriguez:

James Rodriguez was a surprise starter in the match ahead of both Lucas Vazquez and Isco but he took his chance very well. The Colombian knows the pressure that he’s under and understands that everyone will have their eyes on him during every second he spends on the pitch. James didn’t have the best game of his career but he did well, distributed the ball well and also ran back whenever the team needed assistance in midfield. Whether or not he stays in the upcoming summer transfer window, there is no denying that he is doing his very best to prove himself at Real Madrid.

My Personal Player Ratings:

Keylor Navas – 6.5/10
Daniel Carvajal – 7.5/10
Raphael Varane – 7.5/10
Sergio Ramos – 7.5/10
Marcelo – 8/10
Carlos Casemiro – 9/10
Toni Kroos – 8.5/10
Luka Modric – 8/10
James Rodriguez – 8/10
Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.5/10
Karim Benzema – 7.5/10