Real Madrid’s Brazilian duo, Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, were the stars of the show as Los Blancos moved back to the top of the table with a fifth straight win in La Liga.
Vinicius maintained his prolific form by scoring his fifth goal in as many games, while Rodrygo ended up with a goal and an assist in a 4-1 victory over a spirited Real Mallorca at Santiago Bernabeu.
The duo completely outshone a disappointing Eden Hazard, who was making his first start since January. The Belgian was back in the team but then back on the bench after 58 minutes as Carlo Ancelotti opted for changes.
The hosts had earlier needed a rocket from Fede Valverde to get them back on level terms after Vedat Muriqi stunned the home fans by opening the scoring.
Real Madrid’s Brazilian duo then did the business and there was even time for a first Blancos goal for summer signing Antonio Rudiger late on.
The 21-year-old is a enjoying a fine start to the season and is making a big difference to the defending champions in the early weeks of the campaign.
Rodrygo’s run and pass to tee up Vinicius to make it 2-1 was very special, but the Brazilian wasn’t done there as he got his name on the scoresheet in style, beating two defenders and then applying an ice-cool finish.
The forward has now been involved in four goals in his last four games.
The Brazilian remains in unstoppable form for Real Madrid and is a big reason why the champions have won all seven games so far this season.
There was no Karim Benzema against Real Mallorca, but it didn’t really matter because Vini stepped up when it counted to make it 2-1 and end the visitors’ hopes of a first win over Madrid in 2009.
Vinicius has now scored in his last five games in a row and is absolutely vital to Madrid’s hopes of success this season.
Vinicius may have scored the winner but there’s no doubt the highliht of the game was the absolute thunderbolt that Valverde struck in the first half to level the game at 1-1.
The Uruguay midfielder now has two goals and three assists in his last five outings for Carlo Ancelotti’s side this season.
Hazard was back in the starting XI for the first time since January after impressing last time out against Celtic with a goal off the bench in the Champions League.
The visit of Mallorca, who were beaten 6-1 in this fixture last season, looked to be the perfect opportunity for Hazard to shine, but the game largely passed him by.
Hazard didn’t lack for effort, but nothing really came off and it was no real surprise to see him substituted just before the hour.
The Bernabeu pitch:
The 2022-23 La Liga season is only a few weeks old, but the pitch at Santiago Bernabeu already looks as though it has seen better days.
The turf at the home of the champions looked dry and bare in places and certainly did not help Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who toiled at times before running away with it late on.
Real Madrid had to come from behind at home, and fingers will be pointed at Mendy for the opening goal. The left-back, who was also booked early on, was caught ball-watching which allowed Vedat Muriqi to thunder a header home.
Real Madrid Ratings: Defence
Thibaut Courtois (6/10):
Made a good early parry inside the first minute. Could do nothing about Muriqi’s header but otherwise didn’t have too much to do in the Madrid goal.
Ferland Mendy (4/10):
Not a great day for the left-back who was booked in the first half, lost Muriqi for the opener and taken off before the hour.
David Alaba (7/10):
Typically strong at the back and kept on looking to set Vinicius free down the left flank.
Antonio Rudiger (8/10):
A memorable day for the summer signing who scored his first goal for Los Blancos in stoppage time with a volley at the back post.
Lucas Vazquez (6/10):
A decent showing from the full-back, but his game was ended early in the second half by injury.
Dani Ceballos (6/10):
Some good moments on just his third start since returning from a loan spell with Arsenal. Laid the ball off to Valverde for the Uruguayan’s sensational equaliser but was replaced for the last 20 minutes by Eduardo Camavinga.
Toni Kroos (8/10):
Took over the armband from Benzema and had a few sights of goal but couldn’t find the back of the net. Did, though, dictate proceedings in midfield and grabbed an assist late on for Rudiger with a fine free-kick into the penalty area.
Fede Valverde (8/10):
Gave away from the free-kick from which Mallorca opened the scoring but made amends in style with a fabulous equaliser.
Vinicius Jr (8/10):
Was a constant problem for Mallorca with his dribbling ability and did his best to get the crowd going throughout the match. Scored the all-important goal that put Madrid in front.
Eden Hazard (5/10):
This felt like a real missed opportunity for the Belgian, who continues to struggle to make an impact in the Spanish capital.
Finished the game with a goal and an assist to maintain his fine recent form. The performance of Rodrygo and Vinicius ensured that Karim Benzema was not missed.
Subs & manager
Luka Modric (7/10):
Came on in the second half and helped Madrid run away with the win.
A steady showing after replacing Mendy.
Eduardo Camavinga (6/10):
Took over from Ceballos and helped Real Madrid finish strongly.
Dani Carvajal (6/10):
Steady after replacing Lucas Vazquez.
Carlo Ancelotti (8/10):
Another game and another win for Ancelotti, even without Benzema, although it wasn’t quite as easy as the scoreline suggests. Madrid had to recover from conceding first but ended up cruising to victory.