Kroos sets up Real Madrid win at Real Zaragoza with 8/10 performance

Raphael Varane, Lucas Vazquez, Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema were all on the scoresheet as Real Madrid won 4-0 at Real Zaragoza on Wednesday to progress to the Copa del Rey quarterfinals.

Varane had the ball in the back of the net with just six minutes on the clock from Toni Kroos' cross. Keeper Alphonse Areola made an excellent save from Zaragoza's Shinji Kagawa before Kroos bagged another assist, setting up Vazquez to double Madrid's lead before half-time. After the break Real Madrid increased their tally thanks to a composed Vinicius finish and a close-range Benzema effort to extend their unbeaten run to 20 games ahead of Saturday's Madrid derby.


This was the biggest game of the season at La Romareda. Real Zaragoza are sleeping giants and were always going to be up for this match in front of a passionate sellout crowd. Madrid scored their goals at all the right times -- going ahead early, doubling their lead before half-time, and then punishing an improving Zaragoza with some clinical second half finishing.

Zinedine Zidane was able to make full use of his squad, resting players like Thibaut Courtois, Casemiro, Luka Modric and Isco with the derby against Atletico in mind. Benzema's late goal was also important, ending a goal drought that stretched back more than a month.


Luka Jovic continues to misfire. Zidane keeps giving the €60 million Serbian striker chances in the hope that his confidence will grow with game time and goals, but the 22-year-old simply isn't taking them. Starts in La Liga, the Spanish Super Copa and here in the Copa del Rey in 2020 are yet to pay dividends. It's notable that until Benzema scored, a Real Madrid striker hadn't found the net since the Frenchman's late equaliser against Valencia in December. Madrid are going really well, but at some stage they might just be caught out by an over-reliance on Benzema in attack.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Zidane had to strike a delicate balance between resting key players and picking a strong team -- and he got it absolutely right. There were eight changes from the team that beat Real Valladolid in La Liga on Sunday, but there were no signs of disruption. Zidane will have been very pleased with the performance, result, and the look of the team ahead of one of their biggest games of the season.

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

GK Alphonse Areola, 8 -- A good night for the on-loan keeper. One sensational save from Kagawa in the first half, a very good one with his foot in the second and a couple of straightforward stops.

DF Dani Carvajal, 8 -- This was the kind of feisty away game that Carvajal relishes, and he was one of Madrid's better performers on the night. Got forward down the right throughout, and provided the assist for Benzema.

DF Sergio Ramos, 7 -- A solid display from the captain, who was the first player to be substituted, presumably with the Madrid derby very much in mind.

DF Raphael Varane, 8 -- Varane has been in terrific form for a while now and this was another towering performance. Got his second goal of 2020 -- and his fourth of the season -- after scoring against Getafe in La Liga earlier in January.

DF Marcelo, 7 -- The Brazilian's control unusually let him down once or twice in his 500th Madrid game. It will be very interesting to see if he or Ferland Mendy starts at left-back against Atletico; going by recent big games, Mendy seems likely to get the nod.

MF Federico Valverde, 7 -- Tends to play a deeper, more defensive role in the absence of Casemiro and is disciplined enough to do it well, even if he sacrifices some of his best qualities in the process.

MF Toni Kroos, 8 -- Kroos has been operating at another level lately and he was predictably brilliant here with two more assists. His passing range and ability to consistently pick out a teammate with a cross are so, so important to this Real Madrid team.

MF James Rodriguez, 8 -- A clever one-two with Vinicius for the Brazilian to score Madrid's third was his best moment, but there were signs throughout that the Colombia international may just be ready to play a valuable role in the second half of the season after an injury-disrupted campaign.

FW Lucas Vazquez, 8 -- Took his goal superbly well and worked hard as always. Vazquez is a very useful, underrated squad player.

FW Vinicius Junior, 8 -- Usually offers enthusiasm and pace if not always end product, but displayed real class and composure on the night with a deft finish for Madrid's third goal.

FW Luka Jovic, 6 -- Really struggling. Lacks confidence and isn't involved enough in the play. Relatively few touches and was replaced by Benzema, who went on to score exactly the kind of goal Jovic needs.


DF Nacho, 7 -- Came on for Ramos with 25 minutes to go. Did really well to knock Alex Blanco off his stride as he tried to score a consolation goal for Zaragoza.

FW Brahim Diaz, N/R -- Appears to be enjoying this competition. Brahim couldn't score as he did last week against Unionistas but played a lovely ball for Carvajal in the buildup to Benzema's goal.

FW Karim Benzema, N/R -- Came on for Jovic and showed him how it's done, scoring Madrid's fourth to kill off the game.