La Liga El Clasico: Real Madrid 3-4 FC Barcelona: Player Ratings

A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's thrilling La Liga win over Real Madrid.

Victor Valdes
7.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 31
Passes: 61
Pass Accuracy: 58%
Shots Faced: 8
Saves Made: 5

Bostjan says: 7.0

Valdes had solid game in net for Barcelona, making five saves, including an absolute beauty on Karim Benzema early in the second half. He also made a solid save later in the second half, but the other two were relatively routine. Valdes also came close to stopping Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty attempt as he guessed right (right), but came a couple inches short. Valdes couldn't do much to stop Benzema from scoring his second goal of the night, but he got a palm on Benz's header goal and he really should've prevented the ball from crossing the line.

Dani Alves
7.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 91
Passes: 61
Pass Accuracy: 84%
Key Passes: 0
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Tackles: 1
Aerial Duels Won: 2
Clearances: 2
Fouls: 1
Fouls Won: 1

Bostjan says: 6.0

I was not impressed by Alves in this one. In the first half he offered very little in attack and to boot he didn't even take care of his defensive responsibilities. Angel Di Maria was making circles around the Brazilian as most of the Real Madrid traffic came down that side of the pitch. The second half wasn't much kinder to Dani, but a slight improvement was noticeable. He started to play more attacking football, especially after the Sergio Ramos red card. In the 74th minute he fired a rocket on goal, but he was denied by the goalpost. Defensively, however, it didn't get much better as it was Alves' foul on Ronaldo that resulted in the penalty.

Gerard Pique
7.5
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 63
Passes: 49
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Tackles: 2
Interceptions: 5
Clearances: 4
Aerial Duels Won: 3

Bostjan says: 7.5

The trend of Pique (only) performing at a high standard in big games continued against Real Madrid as the tall center back led the team in tackles, interceptions and clearances. With Real leading 2-1 Benzema had a great chance to double his side's lead, but Pique cleared the ball off the line. At times he looked a bit shaky on the ball, but he always managed to recover his composure in time to not turn the ball over. Pique was also partially at fault for Benzema's second of the night as he left too much space for the Frenchman to exploit.

Javier Mascherano
5.9
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 44
Passes: 35
Pass Accuracy: 86%
Tackles: 1
Interceptions: 0
Clearances: 2
Aerial Duels Won: 1
Fouls: 4

Bostjan says: 6.0

Mascherano didn't fare much better than Alves. He was mostly responsible for covering Ronaldo through the game and for the majority of time he did a very good job, though he did lose him on the play that led to the Real Madrid penalty. The player that caused the most problems to the Argentinian was Benzema whose sheer size caused a mismatch. On the first goal Mascherano did everything right, but he lacked a few inches to get to the ball ahead of the Frenchman. He was caught out of position on the second goal as well, but as the game went on Mascherano's performance got better.

Jordi Alba
7.2
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 88
Passes: 70
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Tackles: 0
Interceptions: 2
Clearances: 3
Fouls: 0
Key passes: 0

Bostjan says: 7.0

Alba had a quiet game for Barcelona, focusing more on defense than on the attack. The left-back performed admirably on defense facing the speed of Daniel Carvajal and Gareth Bale, though on a couple occasions both managed to past him. Alba rarely went forward to help Barcelona in attack, but he was still able to make a few dangerous overlapping runs, especially late in the game when Real Madrid went down to 10 men.

Sergio Busquets
7.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 93
Passes: 79
Pass Accuracy: 99%
Tackles: 2
Interceptions: 3
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Fouls Won: 5
Aerial Duels Won: 2
Turnovers: 0
Key passes: 2

Sam says: 7.5

Charged with stopping Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale from having a clear run at the defense, Busquets didn’t exactly have the easiest job on the park. But he performed excellently, helping to stop any developing counter-attacks before they’d even begun, even if was at the cost of a yellow card. Only Gerard Piqué made more interceptions then him, which demonstrates just how good Busi is at reading a game. Passing wise, not many players can boast a 99% success rate in a Clásico but Busquets can now.

Xavi 7.7
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 116
Passes: 106
Pass Accuracy: 96%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Turnovers: 0
Key Passes: 2
Fouls Won: 2
Tackles: 2

Sam says: 7.5

Clásicos come and go but nothing changes when it comes to who pulls the strings in midfield. Xavi is everywhere, receiving the ball and sending it on it’s way before a Madrid player can get close. Barcelona’s main strength comes from asserting their midfield dominance and without Xavi this would be a hell of a lot harder.

Cesc Fabregas
6.8
Minutes played: 78
Touches: 78
Passes: 69
Pass Accuracy: 88%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Fouls Won: 1
Tackles: 1
Turnovers: 1
Key Passes: 2
Fouls: 2

Sam says: 7.0

Away from the spotlight, Fàbregas had a good, solid game ensuring Luka Modric doesn’t start dictating the play. Fàbregas closely marked him all game and ensured that he operated near Xabi Alonso and not near the front three. One negative was his farcical run in with Pepe which ended with both players booked. Overall a good game for the Barça number four.

Neymar 6.6
Minutes played: 69
Touches: 57
Passes: 30
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/2
Fouls Won: 3
Successful Dribbles: 3
Key Passes: 0
Turnovers: 5
Fouls: 2

Inder says: 7.0

While the Brazilian continued to look below his best, there were a couple of decisive moments, most noticeably a superb diagonal run from the right wing to win Barca's 1st penalty. That said, out of the 3 starting forwards, Neymar just didn't do enough. He didn't track back a few times, leaving his compatriot, Dani Alves, having to deal with Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo. Neymar also seems to have picked up a flaw in his game (like Alexis in his first year) of trying to keep the ball under pressure and failing to do so, in areas of the pitch that are dangerous. Personally, I believe Alexis or Pedro would have done better and deserved a start but at 21 years of age, Neymar has done well to handle the pressure and I fully expect him to improve over the season.

Lionel Messi
9.2
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 65
Passes: 42
Pass Accuracy: 88%
Shots/Shots on Target: 6/3
Fouls Won: 4
Successful Dribbles: 1
Key Passes: 5
Turnovers: 2

Inder says: 10.0

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Lionel Messi has definitely been touched by God but that ability to step up when his team needs him is probably his most underrated quality. D10S was everywhere on the night and was directly involved in all 4 goals that Barça scored. The ability to thread inch perfect through balls (especially the one to Neymar which got Ramos sent off) left most of us gasping for breath. Another hat-trick against our biggest rivals and an assist for Iniesta's goal are just the numbers to help put it all into perspective. Messi dominated Madrid's back line and is now the all-time record holder for goals scored in a Clasico with 21 (!).

Andres Iniesta 9.0
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 104
Passes: 86
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/1
Fouls Won: 3
Key Passes: 1
Successful Dribbles: 6
Turnovers: 3

Inder says: 9-0

The Don is most definitely back and looking better than ever. When Iniesta is on form, it's almost like all the other players have no choice but to enter a trance-like state and swoon to the genius of this gifted player. Iniesta has the full repertoire, the passing, the magical touch and spectacular goals. In his false wing role, Barca were basically playing 2 forwards (Neymar and Messi) but it also allowed for Tata Martino to remove any constraints on Iniesta (thanks partially to Cesc Fabregas being present in midfield). Iniesta scored the first goal of the night, which was his 2nd consecutive left footed power drive in La Liga and also won the 3rd penalty of the night, which Messi tucked away to get Barca all 3 points.

Pedro
6.8
Minutes played: 21
Touches: 22
Passes: 17
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Successful dribbles: 1
Tackles: 2

Arron says: 7.5

After a somewhat disappointing and inconsistent display from Brazilian superstar Neymar, Pedro’s introduction was welcomed by the Barcelona fans and pundits alike. The Spanish winger was supposed to provide a little more stability, a greater work-rate and possibly even take advantage of the man advantage that the Blaugrana had worked in their favour – and for the most part, Pedro delivered. He stretched the Madrid defense and didn’t make any mistakes that could have cost Barça in transition. Sure, he didn’t make much of impact in terms of goals, assists or even shots, but Pedro was a crucial factor in Barcelona closing out this important victory.

Alexis Sanchez
6.3
Minutes played: 12
Touches: 8
Passes: 3
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Tackles: 1
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0

Arron says: 7.0

While I mentioned above that many were pleased with the introduction of Pedro, there were some who were clamoring to see the Chilean Alexis Sánchez readied and brought on first – he was tied with Karim Benzema in the race for the Pichichi at kick-off after all. A deeper delve into the statistics would tell you that Sánchez categorically isn’t the guy to bring off the bench away from the Camp Nou with the game on the line, but he can still make an impact. Even in his short stint on the field last night, he could have either made or scored a goal and that was great to see.

The Team 8.4
Passes: 692
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Shots/Shots on Target: 18/6
Tackles: 15
Aerial Battles Won: 50%
Fouls Won/Committed: 24/12

Arron says: 10.0
I was tempted to go Spinal Tap and turn this up to eleven, but I kept my cool and opted for the 10 after all. They deserved it. Yeah, the defense was suspect, but who really cares? We went to the Santiago Bernabeu and won. What’s more, we scored four goals and twice recovered from a deficit en route to this win. Given the pressure, the circumstances and the form book, this was a clutch performance.
Gerardo Martino 7.6

Arron says: 8.5

Tactically, we weren’t great. Initially, we blew Real Madrid out the water with our use of space, our speed and fluidity in transitions and our vision on the ball, but even after going ahead, we somehow lost our way. Martino couldn’t react when Di Maria repeatedly had his way on the right and we never truly rectified that issue; only when Benzema was withdrawn did our problem really subside. But, Martino’s selection got the job done and he sure as hell fired the players up for this one – worthy of a good score from me.

MOTM - Lionel Messi
79%

Bostjan says: Messi

Unsurprisingly Messi once again ran away with the votes, even eclipsing the number of 76% from the match against Osasuna. Similarly to that game Iniesta again finished in second place with a "measly" 13% of the votes.

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