by Pulasta Dhar Feb 14, 2013 15:42 IST
Irrespective of form, price, goals, hairstyles or stardom, every player is equal when he takes to the pitch.
Unless of course, it's Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi — who have set the bar incredibly high.
Real Madrid vs Manchester United — the match itself entertaining. Alex Ferguson had promised there would be goals on the night, and even though just two headers went in, there was plenty of goalmouth action.
Here's a short report card on how every player performed on the night.
Note: Default player ratings start at 6/10 at the first whistle. How they play determines where they end at.
Diego Lopez (GK) - 7.5/10: Rose to the occasion when it mattered. May have been slightly out of position when Danny Welbeck almost scored a second goal and was completely beaten by Robin van Persie's scuffed volley, but the way he diverted the Dutchman's earlier drive onto the bar was simply brilliant.
Alvaro Arbeloa - 6/10: Didn't have much to do, with United's attacks rarely coming in from the left. But when he was called into action, he didn't disappoint.
Raphael Varane - 7/10: Commanding in the air, but lucky to have stayed on the pitch when his last-man trip on Patrice Evra went unpunished. Danny Welbeck's stepover wasn't enough to beat him when the Englishman went on a lovely solo run.
Sergio Ramos - 5.5/10: 'Owned' by Welbeck for most of the match. Did have the strength to keep him out when the young striker ran for a diagonal ball with a Usain Bolt gait, but was beaten in the air for the first goal.
Fabio Coentrao - 8/10: Could have opened the scoring had it not been for David de Gea turning his shot onto the post. Could have scored again in the second half but for the Spaniard to thwart him with his feet. Was not too troubled in defence either.
Xabi Alonso - 7.5/10: Three moments which defined his game — incredible cross-field pass to set up Mesut Ozil's chance, off-the-line clearance from RVP's shot and clattering tackle on Michael Carrick.
Sami Khedira - 6.5/10: Had a few shies at goal and kept United's midfield from creating too much. Efficient — typically German.
Angel di Maria - 8.5/10: Could have easily got a '9' had he remained for a longer time. What stands out are those two back-to-back shots on goal in the second half — and the brilliant assist for Ronaldo's header.
Mesut Ozil - 8/10: Creative, tricky and a constant threat with his positioning. His turn away from Rafael to win a freekick on the edge of the penalty area was brilliant and he made De Gea work from all over the attacking third.
Cristiano Ronaldo - 8.5/10: The extra '0.5' for his goal — a graceful leap, unbelievable hang-time and curling header. Took a few shots on goal which whizzed over the bar but was largely without impact in second half as Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand collectively marked him out.
Karim Benzema - 6/10: Good touch in the first attack of the day but that's all. His roaming created space for the rest of the attackers but that was it.
Gonzalo Higuain - 6.5/10: A fine low cross for Ronaldo after he came on at 60 minutes, and a few mazy runs is all he offered. Still looked more of a threat than Benzema.
Luka Modric and Pepe had too little time to influence the game.
David de Gea - 9/10: The main difference between Madrid and United, De Gea had a fantastic night at his hometown. His handling, reflexes and confidence between the sticks kept United fighting. At this rate, heading for greatness.
Rafael - 6/10: Wasn't targeted by Ronaldo that much, but allowed Di Maria's cross from the left which set up Madrid equaliser. Booking made him play safer than usual, but still bit at ankles and picked up scraps to stay on the pitch throughout. Would like to see him attack at Old Trafford — his main strength.
Patrice Evra - 6.5/10: Plays a type of 'false left-winger' for United and won them a few set pieces. Was beaten by Ronaldo for the goal, but there was nothing logical he could have done to stop it.
Rio Ferdinand - 7/10: Played out of a few risky situations with the calmness that is his trademark. His last ditch tackle on Ronaldo stopped the Portuguese from scoring after Higuain's low cross. Didn't let Nemanja Vidic's absence haunt the visitors.
Jonny Evans - 6.5/10: Continues to show why Ferguson trusts him. Has his shaky moments, but is good in the air and strong with his tackle. Did especially well to keep Benzema quiet.
Phil Jones - 8/10: Quite easily United's best outfield player. Has been apt at playing the Anchorman's role and was harrying Madrid's attackers all over the pitch — also primarily marking Ronaldo. His body-to-body on Di Maria was slightly contentious and he gave away a freekick which Ronaldo almost put at the back of the net, but was otherwise superb.
Michael Carrick - 7/10: Couldn't influence in attack since he was constantly falling back to deal with Madrid. Was always available in sticky situations and split the defence to set Evra on goal.
Shinji Kagawa - 4/10: Harsh, maybe, but he just couldn't get into the game. Is creative and very slippery, but beaten by strength with ease.
Wayne Rooney - 6.5/10: Stuck on the right to keep Coentrao from bombing forward and provided the corner for Welbeck's goal. Made a couple of bad passes and was later subbed for Anderson.
Danny Welbeck - 7.5/10: Drove forward with relentless pace to keep Madrid defenders alert. Scored a fine header and almost got another with a prod. Also attempted a solo run which Varane dealt with.
Robin van Persie - 6.5/10: Lackluster in comparison to his recent form and missed a glorious chance to win the game — only to mishit his attempted shot (for Alonso to eventually clear).
Ryan Giggs - 6/10: Calmed some nerves and provided width on the left. Made a great tackle on Alonso to defy his age.
Antonio Valencia and Anderson came in too late to influence the game.
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