Karim Benzema 8/10, James 7/10 but Madrid held by Valladolid

MADRID -- There were a lot of familiar old faces, and many familiar problems, as Real Madrid drew 1-1 with Real Valladolid in their first home 2019-20 La Liga game at the Bernabeu.


Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez being Madrid's best players through the opening hour was theoretically at least a positive, even if €300 million was spent to supposedly build a new team this summer. Karim Benzema's superb opening goal on 82 minutes showed again how important he is to the cause. Players' mistakes being met by supportive applause from the Bernabeu, rather than incessant whistling, made for a nice change for the new season, although the mood then turned dark again at full-time.


Twenty-two shots over 90 minutes is impressive, but only four of them on target and one getting past Valladolid keeper Jordi Masip is poor. It was understandable that the opposition would have more space to break as Madrid chased a winner with the game goalless and time running out, but baffling how at 1-0 and time almost up the defence could be opened up so easily.

Manager rating out of 10

5 -- Playing all of James, Isco and Bale in a line behind Benzema didn't really work, with too much going on in front of Valladolid's well-organised defence, and it was only after two of the three had been replaced that Madrid went in front. Given how similar this XI was to Madrid teams' past, it should not have been a surprise that Zidane's side faded in the second half, with the same figures in midfield and defence making the same mistakes.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Thibaut Courtois, 6 -- Still favoured ahead of wantaway Keylor Navas, had little to do until the 87th minute when Valladolid's Sergi Guardiola very neatly hit the equaliser through the Belgian shot-stopper's legs.

DF Dani Carvajal, 6 -- Went about his work adequately through the first 89 minutes, but then was caught completely out of position as Valladolid sliced open the Madrid back four to equalise.

DF Raphael Varane, 7 -- Dealt confidently with Valladolid's limited attacking threat, with his pace helping to cover when midfielders ahead of him were caught out of position.

DF Sergio Ramos, 6 -- Was excellent apart from two moments -- first when he almost gave away a penalty in the first half with a reckless hack at a loose ball and later when dashing out to clear before being bypassed in the build up to the equaliser.

DF Marcelo, 6 -- A regular presence raiding forward with accurate crosses setting up headed chances for Benzema and Bale.

MF Casemiro, 6 -- Brought his pressing right up to edge of the Valladolid box at times, and even got into the area for a few headed chances. That said, was too often ahead of the ball when the opposition broke in the second half.

MF Toni Kroos, 6 -- The most involved player as Madrid built many patient moves, but not enough of his passes found holes in Valladolid's well-organised two banks of four. Booked for catching an opponent in the face as frustration grew late on.

MF Isco, 5 -- The usual sprinkling of nice touches of skill, but was too easily dispossessed in central midfield areas. Withdrawn just after another overhit pass flew directly out of play.

FW James Rodriguez, 7 -- His first appearance for Madrid in 826 days went very well. The Colombian was regularly involved and had three ideal shooting situations on his left foot, albeit all missed the target. Understandably faded due to his limited preseason.

FW Karim Benzema, 8 -- Had been one of the players missing chances, but then came up with a cracker. Struck his goal out of nothing, powerfully going across the keeper to the far bottom corner, even as he struggled with what seemed a painful toe problem.

FW Gareth Bale, 6 -- Looked very keen to impress, and the Bernabeu was keen to applaud him, with the support continuing even after he had six shots at goal without finding the net. One of those who tired late on as Valladolid grew into the game.


FW Vinicius Junior, 6 -- Replaced a tiring James and worried Valladolid's defence with his direct runs and tricky footwork, Referee ruled he had dived when trying to win a penalty late on. FW

Luka Jovic, 7 -- The Serbian's first Bernabeu involvement was a towering header which hit the woodwork seconds after he replaced Isco. After that he was not overly involved.

FW Lucas Vazquez N/R -- Replaced the possibly injured Benzema with time almost up and Madrid unable to create a chance for a winning goal in added time.