Here’s how Ancelotti’s men fared today in Germany against Schalke.
Casillas [6.5]: The Spaniard’s impressive record of not conceding a goal in 952 minutes was halted by the Dutchman, Klaas Hunterlaar. The shot was a thunderous volley and could not be saved, rally. Additionally, he was not called upon much throughout the match, but in the beginning of the game he saved Madrid from conceding a silly goal.
Carvajal : Solid performance from the young Spaniard. Didn’t venture in attacking as he is known for, however, he produced a more defensive performance.
Ramos : Was not called upon in the back line as well, but produced a solid performance overall. His relationship with Pepe is continually growing stronger, which is great news for Madristas.
Pepe : Just like his Spaniard-partner, Pepe was solid all night and was rarely called upon.
Marcelo : Marcelo was nodded to fill the left back position over Contrao for this match. The Brazilian did not put a foot wrong all match and contributed both defensively and going forward in attacking.
Alonso : The veteran continued to prove his experience in the Champions League by displaying his calmness on the ball. His chemistry with Modric, too, has blossomed over the season. Simple, clean performance from the Spaniard.
Modric : The Croatian was behind every play Real Madrid conjured throughout the match. His ability to provide accurate balls, coupled with an endless work rate can only help Los Blancos in the midfield department. Fantastic again from Modric.
Di Maria [7.5]: As always, the Argentinian was industrious as ever. Hunted down Schalke players with possession, provided switches to many plays, and tracked back when needed. Ancelotti will want Di Maria to continue to prove his worth to the club and, as of now, is the best man for Real Madrid’s modified 4-4-2 formation.
Bale : Easily one of the best games from the Welshman in a Real Madrid shirt. Constantly thwarted Schalke’s defense on the right wing, as Bale was rewarded with two goals and provided an assist to Ronaldo. (Bale now holds four goals in Champions League with Real Madrid) With Ronaldo back in form as well (don’t forget about Jese), Ancelotti now has, as if he didn’t before, more flexibility with his wingers coming this weekend against their city rivals.
Ronaldo : The Portuguese was simply sensational. It took him a couple of knocks on Schalke’s door to open the scoring floodgates, but he got the job done. Two goals from tonight has now placed Ronaldo third in all time Champions League goal scorers with 60 goals. (Behind Messi, 66, and Raul, 71) Additionally, Ronaldo has scored 31 goals in his last 25 Champions League appearances. Ronaldo has, almost, single-handedly destroyed Real Madrid’s demons in Germany by being the first Spanish team to beat a German team by six away goals. Incredible stuff.
Benzema : A perfect match for the Frenchman to continue his impressive goal count this new year. Two goals and an assist. His work-rate off the ball was equally impressive as his finishing against Schalke. You have to wonder if Zidane is influencing Benzema’s recent performances. Maybe a pep-talk before each game, or a one on one session to increase his determination. Whatever it is, Real Madrid’s attacking trio is now firing on all cylinders. Watch out Europe.
Jese : Came on late, but provided glimpses of his usual runs inside the box. Good to see him get minutes under his belt in the Champions League.
Illarramendi : Slotted in for Xabi Alonso in the dying minutes to hold possession and to secure the win.