Barcelona vs Real Player Ratings

Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo were the stars of the El Clasico as they both scored two goals apiece in a 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou.

All eyes on the ball...

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

Barcelona dropped their first points of this season's La Liga and unsurprisingly, it came at the hands of their arch rivals Real Madrid, who took the lead through Ronaldo in the 23rd minute. Barcelona equalised through Messi in the 31st minute, and the Catalans took the lead through the same man in the 61st minute with a beautfiul free-kick. 

Ronaldo however had the final say as he latched onto Mesut Ozil's through ball and slotted the ball past Valdes to equalise in the 66th minute.

Here, ESPNSTAR.com rates the players who took to the pitch at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona

Victor Valdes - 6.5

The Barcelona custodian was not really tested by the Real Madrid attack throughout the night but still, he was beaten by two well taken Ronaldo goals. His positioning for the first Ronaldo goal was suspect however, and he will be disappointed that he allowed Ronaldo to score at his near post.

Dani Alves (28' off) - 6

Alves had only slightly more than a quarter of the game to make an impact but seeing as how the game was pretty scrappy in the early stages. Like his goalkeeper Valdes, he could and should have done better to close Ronaldo down in the lead up to the Portuguese's first goal but then again, it is quite a task for any defender in the world to shackle Ronaldo.

Javier Mascherano - 7.5

Mascherano's natural position may be as a defensive midfielder but the Argentina international has been played as a central defender by Barcelona for so long that he has become accustomed to it. He put in an accomplished display in the heart of defence for the makeshift backline, missing the reliable Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol, and ensured the likes of Benzema and Ozil were kept quiet for majority of the game.

Adriano - 6.5

The Brazilian was played out of position in the centre of defence out of necessity but he managed to put in a respectable display for the Catalan giants. He did show signs of not being able to fully get to grips with the new role, his woeful attempt at playing the offside trap in the lead up to Ronaldo's second goal a prime example of that, but he was otherwise untroubled by the Real Madrid attack and handled himself well overall.

 Jordi Alba - 7

Alba was an energetic presence on the left for Barcelona, providing Vilanova's men with extra width in attack with his bombing runs down the flank. He managed to get himself into several dangerous positions as well and he caused his international teammate Alvaro Arbeloa no end of problems throughout the game.

 Xavi Hernandez - 7

The 32-year-old midfielder was once again the conductor in midfield for Barcelona, although he did have a bit of an off game by his lofty standards. He was as usual the link between defence and attack for the Catalans but was uncharacteristically sloppy in possession, especially in the final third and his passes were often easily cleared by the Real defence.

Sergio Busquets - 6.5

Given how almost all of Real's attacks came from the flank instead of through the middle, Busquets was not really given a test in the middle of the field and was relatively untroubled as the defensive shield for his side. He did cover his full backs well though and showed good reading of the game to intercept several of Real Madrid's passes.

Cesc Fabregas (62' off) - 6

It was a gamble by Tito Vilanova to leave talismanic striker David Villa and exciting winger Alexis Sanchez on the bench in favour of Cesc Fabregas. However, the former Arsenal player failed to repay his coach's faith and was substandard throughout the game. His passing in the final third was often wayward and his movement off-the-ball was too easily picked up by the Real Madrid defence.

Pedro Rodriguez - 7.5

Pedro was one of the bright sparks for an atypically insipid Barcelona side and the 25-year-old tormented Marcelo on the right throughout the game. His trickery, pace and cunning had the Brazilian defender bamboozled on more than one occasion and he managed to work himself into several good goal scoring opportunities but just failed to find the net despite his best efforts.

Lionel Messi - 9.5

At times, it seems as if the El Clasico has devolved from a battle between the top two teams in the La Liga into a personal battle between arguably the top two players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. And Messi certainly upheld his end of the bargain, firing in both of his side's goals and being the central hub for all of his side's attacks. His first goal, a predatory effort, had a hint of good fortune about it and came about after the Real Madrid defence failed to properly clear their lines, but there was absolutely nothing lucky about his second, an absolutely gorgeous free-kick right into the corner of Casillas' goal. That free-kick had perfection written all over it.

Andres Iniesta - 7

Like his long-time midfield partner Xavi, Iniesta showed glimpses of brilliance in patches but there was a lack of consistency in his passes. There were occasions where he managed to split the Real Madrid defence open with a through pass but there were also occasions where he gave the ball away cheaply when in a good position.

Subs

 Martin Montoya (28' on) - 6.5

The young right-back was given the momentous task of shackling Ronaldo on the right and initially seemed to be overawed by the occasion but he slowly grew into the game and eventually managed to go toe to toe with Ronaldo, although the Portuguese always looked like he had the beating of the 21-year-old right back.

Alexis Sanchez (62' on) - 6.5

Sanchez came on to give the Catalans an injection of pace down the flanks but he didn't really manage to see much of the ball in the time he was on the pitch but the Chilean looked really dangerous whenever he had the ball on the feet.

Real Madrid

Iker Casillas - 6.5

Like his Spanish counterpart in goal at the opposite end of the pitch, Casillas was not really tested in goal by Barcelona but he did what he had to do with little fuss and was generally his usual stable self. He was also not to blame for the goals conceded.

Alvaro Arbeloa - 6.5

The former Liverpool defender looked shaky at right back and had a busy night trying to stop Alba from doing too much damage from the flanks. It was an intriguing battle between himself and Alba on the flanks, a battle which he managed to win a fair share of and apart from a few hairy moments, Jose Mourinho can be satisfied with the right-back's contribution.

Pepe - 7

The Portuguese defender absolutely dominated the aerial battles against his shorter opponents and headed away numerous crosses into the box. He was a steady presence at the back for his side, although his penchant for arguing with the referee and seeming willingness to pick a fight with the Barcelona players was an ugly sight to behold.

Sergio Ramos - 7.5

Ramos was a rock at the back for Real Madrid and was one of the reasons why Barcelona failed to make inroads into their penalty box. He cut out numerous Barcelona passes and made several crucial well-timed challenges to snuff out the Catalan side's attacks.

Marcelo - 5

The Brazilian left-back was given a torrid time by Pedro on the left and failed to deal with the effervescent Spain international throughout the game. However, the 24-year-old was also left exposed by Ronaldo on his flank, who failed to provide sufficient defensive cover from midfield and Barcelona enjoyed some measure of success attacking down his flank.

Sami Khedira - 6

Khedira was quite uninvolved throughout the game and failed to really get to grips with the pace and trickery of Messi and Iniesta. However, he was hardworking and helped close the Barcelona midfield down really well to deny them time and space to play the ball freely.

Xabi Alonso - 7

Having the energetic Khedira to do most of the hard running in the middle of the pitch, Alonso used his experience to read the game and covered well for his more attacking minded teammates. His passing was especially pleasing on the eye, with the 30-year-old once again demonstrating his range of passes which helped his side stretch the Barcelona defence.

Mesut Ozil (80' off) - 8

Ozil came out of the blocks slowly and did not really impress much in the first half but he burst to life in the second and was one of Real Madrid's biggest threats of the night. He managed to get the better of Adriano on a few occasions and would have notched up a few more assists if not for the profligacy of his teammates. His reverse pass for Ronaldo's second goal was world-class however, and demonstrated the amount of quality he possessed.

Cristiano Ronaldo - 9

I know that giving Ronaldo a rating of 9, while giving Messi an addition 0.5 rating will not sit well with several of our readers but from a neutral point of view, Ronaldo failed to really test the makeshift Barcelona defence and was hardly as influential in attack as compared to Messi. However, great credit must be given to him for finishing off with aplomb what were probably the only two real chances presented to him. Granted, the service from his teammates was poor and the but Ronaldo himself failed to do much with the ball when he had it and we all know that the Portuguese is capable of way better than what he put on show at the Camp Nou.

Angel di Maria (88' off) - 6

The 24-year-old winger had an on and off game, sometimes showing delightful skill to go past the Barcelona defenders but at other times, he was just awful and wasted possession needlessly. Mourinho will however be most displeased with the fact that Di Maria failed to convert a glorious chance to double their lead early in the game when he missed a sitter.

Karim Benzema (62' off) - 6

Benzema was a peripheral figure upfront and never really got himself involved in the game. He did manage to hit the upright with a scuffed effort early in the first half but apart from that chance, never really managed to get a sight of goal. His biggest contribution to his side for the game was to set up Ronaldo for his first goal.

Subs

Gonzalo Higuain (62' on) - 5

He was brought on to give an attacking edge for Mourinho's men but he failed to see much of the ball and was unable to contribute much, if any, to the Real Madrid attack.

Kaka (80' on) - N/A

Michael Essien (88' on) - N/A



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