3️⃣ points as party poopers Real Madrid rebound from Copa upset

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Padraig Whelan

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Real Madrid issued the perfect response to their Copa del Rey humiliation by beating Alavés easily on Saturday night.


Real Madrid

This is what we made of it …

Party poopers

Real Madrid are no strangers to disappointment when it is a club’s big birthday.

Infamously, in 2002, they contested the Copa del Rey final at the Santiago Bernabéu on the 100th anniversary of their founding – and were promptly shocked by Deportivo in a game remembered as El Centenariazo.

Saturday night marked exactly 100 years since Alavés were born but Real were in no mood to be charitable despite their own painful memories of centenary frustration.

They limited their hosts to just one consolation moment of joy when Joselu crashed a header home from a free-kick but mostly, this was clinical and comfortable from the champions.

It is also their biggest away win in LaLiga for 14 months, everything clicking in a performance Zinedine Zidane will have enjoyed from isolation.

This was as ruthless a way to not only silence some of their critics but to rain on a parade as there can be.

Sign Modrić up now

This was a Luka Modrić masterclass.

He may turn 36 later this year and be on a large salary at the Santiago Bernabéu but with performances like this, how could the club let him leave?

The Croatian is into the final six months of his current contract and while it looks like an agreement will be reached on an extension, it hasn’t materialised yet.

Based on this showing, it would be a foolish decision not to keep the veteran midfield maestro around for a little while longer.

The full range of passing was on display from Modrić, with one particular outside-of-the-boot through ball being one of the finest passes you’ll see anywhere this year, and his assist for Karim Benzema’s second also a special one.

This is a man with a big part still to play.

More like it Eden

He may have only lasted 63 minutes but there were plenty of encouraging signs from Eden Hazard.

The Belgian looked bright, confident and keen to impress throughout his hour on the field, particularly in the first half.

His deft flick for Karim Benzema’s goal and calm touch and finish for his own goal saw him pull off a LaLiga first on the road.

It was undoubtedly his finest showing of yet another injury-plagued season so far.

And those fitness issues are precisely why we won’t be getting too carried away about this one.

But it is a start and something to build on. The quality is there. It is time for consistency.