The Santiago Bernabeu was the host of tonight’s Champions League clash between Napoli and Real Madrid. Napoli were lackluster for most of the match except for a few instances and in fact lost 3-1 to a far superior Real Madrid squad.
Pepe Reina (6): The Spanish keeper was blameless on the goals scored by Benzema, Kroos and Casemiro. His save in the second half against James Rodriguez helped Napoli leave the Bernabeu with some of their honour, but good goalkeeping means little with sub-par defending.
Faouzi Ghoulam (4.5): The Algerian seemed more concerned with attacking rather than defending, even when he was back on defense he struggled against James Rodriguez and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Kalidou Koulibaly (6): Probably the only shining light on Napoli’s defense, he was the only player able to consistenly stop Madrid’s front three. His only mistake came on Toni Kroos’ goal when he went to the ground too quickly enabling Ronaldo to cross the ball into Kroos for the score.
Raul Albiol (5): The ex-Blanco was lackluster in his return to the Bernabeu, he is at fault for Benzema’s goal, when the Frenchmen was able to easily jump over the Spaniard to head in the goal.
Elseid Hysaj (5.5): The Albanian international was a good presence during the match on both sides of the ball, but being solid against Real Madrid isn’t enough, Ronaldo and Marcelo were able to impose their style of play against him.
Piotr Zielinski (5): The Polish midfielder was very much sub-par during the match, he was unable to provide help to his defense and unable to provide a creative spark for the offense. He also picked up a yellow on a dangerous tackle against Casemiro.
Amadou Diawara (5): Most of the possession went through the ex-Bologna players feet. Overall the static and stale play of Napoli did not benefit him in the least. If he had more options, he would have shown more.
Marek Hamsik (6): Marekiaro was the player that tried to link up play the most. His feeling with Insigne is what brought Napoli their sole score. Real Madrid’s defense proved to be too strong and thwarted Hamsik’s multiple attacks.
Lorenzo Insigne (6.5): His goal is one of Napoli’s few bright spots, that paired with his constant energy on the attacking front made him easily Napoli’s best player tonight.
Dries Mertens (5): The Belgian was invisible for most of the match, and even when he had the ball, he was far from his top. If Napoli want a chance to threaten Madrid, Mertens needs to improve drastically.
Jose Maria Callejon (5): Much like Mertens, he was not incisive on the match in the least, losing possession multiple times and not providing a threat to Madrid’s center backs. Milik’s return paired with Insigne’s good form threatens his position in the starting XI.
Maurizio Sarri (5): The formation he selected wasn’t at the same level as Real Madrid, but that isn’t necessarily his fault, given he doesnt have the same talent at his disposal. His substitutions were not the best, and they were not able to inset any energy into a team in great need of a spark. The return of Milik to the formation might be beneficial in the end, but only time will tell.
Allan (5): His physical presence helped Napoli improve on the offensive side, but ultimately it was to no avail as Napoli still fell flat.
Arkediusz Milik (n/a)
Napoli fell flat against Madrid due to their lackluster play and lack of energy, much needs to be done if they hope to threaten Madrid in the return leg at the San Paolo.