Real Madrid returned from the international break with a game against Athletic Club in La Liga. Despite the confusion from the jersey strips on the pitch, Madrid found themselves victorious thanks to a goal on either side of the half by Rodrygo and some strong performances all around the field. Los Blancos looked in control throughout the match until the final burst of energy from the Basque side.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side extended their unbeaten run in La Liga to 24 games with a win over Ernesto Valverde’s side. The game also saw the return of Jude Bellingham from his suspension while Eder Militao played his first minutes for Real Madrid after injuring his ACL against the same opponent back in August.

Here are the three standout performers from the encounter in La Liga.

Rodrygo

Rodrygo’s performance against Athletic Club

The Brazilian fresh off of playing (and scoring) at the Bernabeu during the international break continued in the same vein. He opened the scoring with an emphatic strike inside the opening 10 minutes with essentially Real Madrid’s first attack of the game.

Playing off the left, Rodrygo was the main outlet for Los Blancos and caused Athletic Club a lot of problems with his ball carrying. His seven progressive carries in the game was the highest by any player in the game and he was able to cut inside onto his dominant right foot more often in the game.

His second goal came from a transition situation where he was able to showcase his quick change of direction and composure inside box. With UCL tie against Man City looming around the corner, the 23-year-old being in a goalscoring touch is a good sign for Real Madrid.

Brahim Diaz

Brahim Diaz performance vs Athletic Club

Brahim was a live wire in the game, as has been the case multiple times this season. The recently capped Moroccon international, bagged an assist but more importantly wrecked havoc with his close control and acceleration down the right hand side. His low center of gravity allows him to navigate through tight spaces very easily and keep control of the ball under pressure.

The 24-year-old was a good vertical outlet down the right and came close to scoring in the second half, hitting the post after Rodrygo’s pass found him in space. The former City man’s disruptive abilities on the carry and his proclivity to accelerate play when on the ball makes him a major threat against set defences.

Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham’s performance vs Athletic Club

Back after serving his two game suspension, Bellingham picked up where he left off from. The Englishman reached 20 goal contributions in La Liga this season (16 goals and 4 assists) with an assist for Rodrygo’s second. The former Dortmund man showcased his innate ability in transition situations, making the right choices time and again. The weight and timing of his deliveries in these situation is near perfect, allowing for our other attackers to capitalize on it.

Bellingham also showcased impressive defensive workrate as a part of Ancelotti’s 4-2-2-2 scheme. He helped out a lot in recovering possession and read the play to cut off opposition passing lanes very well. His influence was two ways helping out the side on both ends of the field and will be vital should Madrid decide to press City in their upcoming UCL tie.

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