Real Madrid 3 Barcelona 1: Talking points as ex-Liverpool man makes debut

Three talking points as Cristiano Ronaldo helps inspire comeback for Real Madrid

By Tom Wellman
Real Madrid

Focus on Ronaldo has helped Benzema thrive

Cristiano Ronaldo continued his fine scoring streak with another goal against Barcelona on Saturday, but the real star in the last few weeks has been Karim Benzema. The France international scored twice in the Champions League last week and contributed once in the 3-1 win over Barca, proving his importance to the team. Often a scapegoat, Benzema has a fabulous scoring record behind Ronaldo, and with marquee signings of Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, the striker has had far less pressure on his shoulders. This has helped Benzema score seven times in his last six games (one was a late substitute appearance for France, so five really) after a barren run of just a single strike in the first 11 games. His goals against Portugal and Ludogorets have been vital winning goals too, proving a confident Benzema can be a pivotal player in Real’s pursuit of trophies this season.

Opportunity for Messi to break La Liga record passes

Before the Clasico, the media’s focus was predominantly on Lionel Messi and his impending La Liga scoring record, with the strike just two shy of breaking it. The chance to do that at the home of Real Madrid was tempting, but he endured a frustrating night. Messi wasted a glorious chance in the first half, but tasted little else in front of goal on Saturday, failing to maintain Barcelona’s unbeaten La Liga record. Admittedly, the result was more important than any record to fall on Saturday, but for Messi to have broken the record at the Bernabeu, he could also have broken Madrid hearts and flatten their resurrected title bid. The record will fall in the upcoming games, though won’t feel as sweet as celebrating in front of thousands of silent Madridistas

Assist on debut for Suarez a sign of things to come

Luis Suarez’s long awaited debut began in perfect fashion as he laid on Neymar for Barcelona’s goal in the fourth minute. Selected as part of a deadly trio alongside the Brazilian and Messi, Suarez will certainly add to Barcelona’s quality going forwards, which was apparent despite the defeat. For all his wrongdoings, Suarez is a striker with an instinct for goals, and despite not scoring himself, the goals will surely come. His inclusion could also help Lionel Messi, who has taken on a more reserved role than normal this season, contributing with a fair amount of assists rather than an obscene amount of goals. Whether it is goals or assists from Suarez though, he’s always one to watch considering his track record for making the headlines.

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