Real Madrid traveled to Las Palmas with one eye on Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Cristiano Ronaldo, Toni Kroos and Isco were all rested as the guessing game begins regarding who Zinedine Zidane will start in Turin in that vital first leg. Gareth Bale scored a brace and Karim Benzema landed a penalty but it is difficult to gauge this performance given that fact that Paco Jemez himself says his side are not up to the required standard of La Liga.
A good run-out ahead of the Juventus game and in order to dust off any cobwebs collected during the international break. Las Palmas offered little resistance once Bale opened the scoring. The game and three points will act as a nice confidence boost for some players on the fringes of the team but little else.
The injury to Nacho is a blow as he is one of Zidane's most trusted defenders and plays in a variety of roles across the back four. It is only a matter of time before Benzema's dreadful form in front of goal comes back to haunt Real Madrid. His entire raison d'être now is his ability to bring teammates into the game, which is not enough for a striker at the very top level.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- On one hand, Las Palmas had nothing to lose and Real Madrid are sleepwalking to the end of La Liga with no chance of winning it. On the other, there are places up for grabs and Zidane has to be careful not to let complacency seep in. He played Bale on the left, which Las Palmas had no answer to and also used the chance to rest some of his starters ahead of Tuesday.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Keylor Navas, 7 -- Made a couple of good saves at 0-0. He was rarely called upon in the second half but did everything he was asked to with aplomb.
DF Nacho, NR -- Replaced by Achraf Hakimi after 29 minutes and looked visibly distraught on the bench. Looks to have suffered a hamstring injury and is a doubt for Tuesday night.
DF Raphael Varane, 7 -- Tasked with leading the defence in the absence of Marcelo, Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos. He did well, if not spectacular, but there were few questions asked of him by a side who look destined for the drop.
DF Jesus Vallejo, 7 -- Has struggled with injuries this season but was calm and collected in a rare start. Combined his speed and positioning on occasion to snuff out potential Las Palmas danger and did well overall.
DF Theo Hernandez, 5 -- Subdued performance from the left-back. Struggled to cause any damage down the left and won't have Marcelo fearing for his place after this performance. He seems out of sync with Real Madrid's general play.
MF Casemiro, 6 -- Solid without needing to be anything more at the base of midfield. Tends to find himself with nothing to do against weaker opposition. Taken off after 62 minutes with taller tasks on the horizon.
MF Luka Modric, 8 -- Tasked with teeing up Bale and Lucas Vazquez down the right and left with long diagonal passes and landed his third assist in three games when he sent Bale clear in the first half. The Croatian completed 40 of 46 passes in 61 minutes and will be well rested for Tuesday.
MF Lucas Vazquez, 7 -- Looked frustrated early in the first half but fought himself back into the game and won the penalty that made it a monumental task for Las Palmas at 0-2.
MF Gareth Bale, 9 -- The Welshman had a field day against Las Palmas' turgid defence. Found himself through on goal time and time again. Two goals and should have had more and is potentially back in the frame for significant minutes against Juventus.
FW Marco Asensio, 6 -- Struggled to find his groove playing as a central attacking midfielder. Doesn't have to be a game-winner in every appearance but might have liked to do better with places up for grabs against Juventus.
FW Karim Benzema, 6 -- Did well to pull an already ragged-looking Las Palmas defence out of position. His penalty won't disguise the fact that he missed a sitter in the second half and is struggling massively in front of goal.
DF Achraf Hakimi, 6 -- Played well when he replaced Nacho after 29 minutes. Looked more astute in defence than he has in previous performances. The young right-back looked comfortable on the ball too.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 6 -- Failed to assert the kind of control and hypnotic passing that Modric does and had little to do when he came on after 61 minutes. Had one nice run up the field but other than that, did nothing to make this cameo stick in the mind.
MF Marcos Llorente, 5 -- Does the same job as Casemiro but doesn't do it with as much ease as the Brazilian. Gave the ball away with one of his first touches and was lucky not to concede a penalty as he tried to recover.