Gareth Bale delivers assured performance in Real Madrid’s La Liga opening win over Getafe

A goal and an assist from Gareth Bale against Getafe got Julen Lopetegui’s side off to a perfect start in La Liga.
Steve Nicol explains the role he thinks Gareth Bale should play in Real Madrid’s attack, and Julien Laurens explains how Karim Benzema factors in.

Real Madrid put the European Super Cup debacle behind them with an assured 2-0 win over Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night.

In Julen Lopetegui’s first game in charge of Real Madrid in domestic competition, Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale scored in either half against an organised visiting side.


Lopetegui showed off his ability to tinker without really losing any defensive solidity. He went without Casemiro, Luka Modric and Raphael Varane as they continue to get up to speed after the World Cup. It was a refreshing take on Zinedine Zidane’s usual starting eleven with Dani Ceballos and Toni Kroos partnering in midfield.


Real Madrid continue to look like a team full of really good support actors in attack. Bale showed flashes of his brilliance but it was slow and predictable at times in attack even if it is still very early in the season.

Manager rating out of 10

8 — Lopetegui was brave in his approach by starting Kroos and Ceballos in midfield. He showed his nous with some switches in attack as Marco Asensio, Isco and Bale interchanged on occasion when necessary. The Blancos boss also took smart options by resting Modric, Varane and Casemiro and Real Madrid hardly suffered for it.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Keylor Navas, 5 — Navas started for the second game in a row under Lopetegui with Thibaut Courtois sitting on the bench. He didn’t have anything to do in the first half as Getafe didn’t have a shot on or off target and only had one effort in the whole game. A very quiet night for Navas.

DF Dani Carvajal, 7 — Real Madrid are crying out for a talisman but nobody expected it to be Carvajal. His header broke the deadlock in the first half and eased a slightly growing tension at the Bernabeu. Solid as ever going backwards.

DF Sergio Ramos, 6 — Won a penalty before it was ruled out for offside, then had a goal ruled out not long after for a foul. With Real Madrid in control and Getafe offering little going forward, Ramos ventured forward time and time again and looked as comfortable as ever in attack.

DF Nacho, 8 — Despite all the change at Real Madrid this summer, some things will always stay the same. Nacho was as solid as ever when called in to start for Varane. Made a couple of key interceptions and proved a perfect remedy for the strong and experienced Jorge Molina. Real Madrid’s best defender.

DF Marcelo, 7 — Not really asked to do much defensively, which might have been a blessing, but linked well with his attackers. Offers Madrid options on the left regardless of whether it’s Bale, Asensio or Isco nearest to him.

MF Toni Kroos, 6 — Tasked with playing in a more defensive and multifunctional role than he is accustomed to. Hardly troubled by Getafe but there was a note of frailty in front of Nacho and Ramos even if the visitors could not exploit it. Not an overly taxing night for the midfielder.

MF Dani Ceballos, 6 — Started brightly but disappeared out of the game as the first half wore on. Came back into it as space opened up after Real Madrid’s second but struggled against the kind of defensive side he should prosper against. Replaced after 70 minutes by Modric.

MF Marco Asensio, 6 — Nice assist for the Bale goal after he pounced on a mistake by Getafe. Looks better in a reactionary situation than having to create and was quiet other than that and some other fleeting moments when he buried a shot against the post in the second half. Improved when Getafe were forced to step up and attack.

MF Isco, 5 — Not really settled into life under Lopetegui as many expected he would. Unclear as to what his role is and it seems he is struggling to figure out how he is expected to play too. Replaced by Casemiro just before the hour mark.

MF Gareth Bale, 9 — Tried to be the man Real Madrid need him to be with some nice runs on both wings. Fired a header onto the crossbar, which gave Getafe a fright early on. Delivered the cross for Carvajal’s goal and scored to put the game beyond doubt in the second half. Replaced after 76 minutes.

FW Karim Benzema, 7 — Failed to influence the game for large spells but did have a number of key touches. Lofted the ball into the box for what looked like a penalty in the first half only for it to be ruled out for offside. Remains much the same as ever with loads of movement but no real incision as a pure No. 9.


MF Casemiro, 6 — Came on for a half an hour and was largely bypassed as Getafe tried to get a goal back. Decent return to action after suffering an injury scare against Atletico on Wednesday.

MF Luka Modric, NR — Replaced Ceballos as he is slowly reintegrated into the team after a taxing World Cup in Russia.

FW Lucas Vazquez, NR — Came on for Bale after 76 minutes. A perfect player to bring on against a team chasing a lead. Diligent in his defensive duties and broke free once or twice at speed to keep Getafe honest.

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