Real Madrid player ratings vs Athletic Club: Jude Bellingham looks right at home as Los Blancos open La Liga campaign in style

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Jude Bellingham Real Madrid 2023-24
The summer signing netted a beautiful goal to get up and running in La Liga

Jude Bellingham started his Real Madrid career in style after sealing a big money move from Borussia Dortmund this summer

Madrid's marquee signing scored his side's second goal and was a constant threat for all 90 minutes as Carlo Ancelotti's side cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over Athletic Club in their La Liga opener.

Bellingham turned in a tireless 90 minutes for Los Blancos. Operating as a No.10 behind split strikers, the Englishman proved to be a difference maker, and showed that Madrid can perhaps survive without a clear number nine following the departure of Karim Benzema.

Indeed, one of the two forwards in Ancelotti's new-look Madrid side broke the deadlock. Rodrygo received a Dani Carvajal pass and fired a speculative effort into the near post — one Unai Simon would feel he should've saved.

Vinicius should have made it two shortly after, firing at Simon after gliding past two defenders. Bellingham made up for his team-mate's mistake, making it two from a scuffed attempt off a corner. There were further close moments. Rodrygo and Vinicius both had further chances, while Bellingham created chaos with a series of driving runs from midfield.

Athletic Club, for their part, didn't threaten much. Andiry Lunin, handed the start after Thibaut Courtois tore his anterior cruciate ligament in training, had very little to do.

But it wasn't an entirely carefree opener for Madrid. Eder Militao needed assistance off the field after sustaining what appeared to be a serious knee injury — a sure blow to Madrid's backline ahead of a long season.

GOAL rates Real Madrid's players from San Mames...

  1. Goalkeeper & Defence

    Goalkeeper & Defence

    Andiry Lunin (6/10):

    Unclear if he'll be the long-term Thibaut Courtois replacement, but he didn't do anything wrong over the course of 90 minutes.

    Dani Carvajal (6/10):

    Handed the armband with Benzema gone and Courtois injured. Scampered up the right side with his usual vigour. Expertly made an enemy of pretty much every Athletic Club player.

    Eder Militao (6/10):

    Turned in a solid 50 minutes. Needed help off the pitch after landing awkwardly and grabbing his knee. Visibly upset, and could face a long-term absence.

    David Alaba (7/10):

    A solid showing at centre-back from an immensely reliable footballer. Will be crucial this year if Militao is out for an extended period.

    Fran Garcia (6/10):

    A very nervy first half in his Madrid La Liga debut. Loose in his passing, and lost the ball too often. Much better in the second half.

  2. Midfield


    Aurelien Tchouameni (7/10):

    Struggled to assert himself early, but really settled in as the game wore on. Prevented a certain goal with a last-ditch block in the second half.

    Eduardo Camavinga (7/10):

    Ran everywhere, tackled well, solid on the ball. Should be a guaranteed starter every week — regardless of the midfield quality Madrid have.

    Federico Valverde (6/10):

    Probably the least impactful of the four midfielders. He can't afford to have too many poor showings; there will be lots of competition in this team.

    Jude Bellingham (9/10):

    Played as a number 10 in what was a dream debut. Embarked on a few wonderful runs, combined well with Vinicius, bagged himself a goal. Embraced his advanced role with aplomb.

  3. Attack


    Rodrygo (7/10):

    Got off the mark — albeit with a rather fortunate strike. Will need to score plenty more if Mbappe doesn't arrive from PSG. His influence waned as the game wore on.

    Vinicius Jr (7/10):

    Probably should've scored in the first half after a lovely run. A bit quieter than usual — Athletic Club defended him well.

  4. Subs & Manager

    Subs & Manager

    Antonio Rudiger (6/10):

    Introduced for the injured Militao. Didn't have loads to do, but will likely be a regular with Militao sustaining a potentially serious injury.

    Toni Kroos (6/10):

    Brought on to see the game out. What a luxury.

    Luka Modric (6/10):

    Offered a chance to run around for 15 minutes.

    Joselu (N/A):

    Didn't offer much in a brief cameo.

    Carlo Ancelotti (7/10):

    The first game in his final season of club football was a solid one. Went for a young midfield, and it worked. Madrid took a 2-0 lead into half time, and never really looked in trouble. The Militao injury will be of concern, though.