ISF’s Real Madrid correspondent Alex Kirkland examines the success of Carlo Ancelotti’s team in their Clásico win, as well as how the performance demonstrated their pedigree among Europe’s elite.
Any last, lingering doubts were blown away at the Bernabéu. We already knew this Real Madrid side could demolish the vast majority of teams they’ll face this season – scoring 30 goals in 8 league games was testament to that. Now they’ve done the same to one of the best teams in Europe. Madrid scored three against Barca, but it could easily have been five or six.
Carlo Ancelotti deserves huge credit for the way he has brought this team together. He lost Xabi Alonso and Angel di María from the heart of a Champions League-winning team. Their replacements were very different players, albeit of the highest quality. After some false starts, he has seamlessly integrated Toni Kroos and James Rodríguez and found the midfield balance that was lacking in Madrid’s early season struggles.
Kroos and Luka Modric performed brilliantly on Saturday. Disciplined and dynamic, they covered every blade of grass. Alongside them Isco and James were every bit as good. Isco, in particular, delivered another midfield masterclass to go alongside his star turn at Anfield. He grows in confidence and authority week by week. When fit again, Gareth Bale has a fight on his hands to win his place back.
Madrid’s third goal was a crystal-clear demonstration of their counter-attacking threat. The role of Isco was fundamental. As the ball broke clear from Rakitic’s mishit corner, he raced to get there first. Doing so showed the kind of grit and determination he’s added to his game this season. What followed looked so, so simple. Isco, to Ronaldo, to James, to Benzema. 3-1.
The most impressive thing about Saturday’s win wasn’t that goal, though. Or Casillas’ saves at crucial points in the game. Or the wave after wave of late attacks that could have turned defeat into humiliation. It was the way that Madrid responded to going behind so early. Many teams would have crumbled, or at least stumbled. Madrid barely broke stride. Within minutes they had hit the woodwork and within half an hour they were level. They never looked back.
This article originally appeared here.