Keylor Navas, Nacho stand out in Real Madrid's shutout win over Deportivo
Real Madrid ran out as comfortable winners in a 3-0 victory at the Riazor that did little to dispel the notion that Zinedine Zidane's side are anything other than heavy favourites to retain their La Liga title. Gareth Bale, Casemiro and Toni Kroos hit the net for the visitors as Deportivo La Coruna found themselves outclassed.
This was a professional performance in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and a game that could have proven tricky for Madrid on paper. It seems that whatever changes Zidane makes to his first 11 he has a fully functioning side that any team will struggle to beat,
It's becoming difficult to find excuses for Sergio Ramos. The Real captain deserved to be sent off in stoppage time and was lucky to last that long after clubbing Fabian Schar in the chops shortly after the break.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Zidane made a couple of changes from the side that outplayed Barcelona in the Super Cup but he has such a deep squad that it barely makes a difference. Two of the Frenchman's substitutes were players brought in on his watch. While others flounder in the ridiculously inflated transfer market, Zidane did his shopping seasons ago.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Keylor Navas, 9 -- The Real keeper thwarted Florin Andone twice early on, deflected a penalty from the Romanian striker and had five saves overall. You can't ask for much more from your keeper.
DF Dani Carvajal, 7 -- A typically energetic display from the Spain right-back was marred by conceding a penalty on Bruno Gama late on.
DF Nacho, 8 -- It is a bit of a wonder how Nacho continues to be a bit-part player given his consistently solid displays. The canterano held the slippery Zakaria Bakkali in check in another commanding performance.
DF Sergio Ramos, 5 -- At some point Ramos is going to have to come up with a different tactic for responding to provocation from strikers who know their business as well as he knows his. Florin Andone is an infamous agent provocateur and the Real captain's battle with the Romania international was only going to end one way, even if it was Borja Valle who will go in the books as Ramos' record-breaking victim.
DF Marcelo, 7 -- The Brazilian showed his best two halves with a solid display at the back -- no player on either side bettered his tackling rate -- and had a wonderful assist for Real's second goal, teeing up what the Spanish commentators call a "medio-gol" for Casemiro.
MF Casemiro, 7 -- Got on the score sheet courtesy of Marcelo in another barnstorming performance in which the Brazilian stemmed Depor's occasional ambition with good coverage and physical presence.
MF Luka Modric, 6 -- A subdued display from the Croatian, but in reality he had little to do against a Depor midfield that rarely threatened Madrid's hegemony in the middle.
MF Toni Kroos, 7 -- Popped up with a goal and stuck in more tackles than anybody outside Real's back four in another typically polished performance.
FW Isco, 8 -- The driver of the team's attacking verve, Isco was always willing to run at a defender to open up a path to goal. No player attempted more dribbles and the Real midfielder dropped deep several times to start something from nothing.
FW Gareth Bale, 7 -- A goal and an assist on his return to Liga action after a four-month injury lay-off was a good evening's work for Bale but not enough to convince some spectators, who were happy to see the Welshman replaced with 10 minutes to play.
FW Karim Benzema, 6 -- A workmanlike game rather than a spectacular one, the Frenchman managed an assist in a display that was more graft than craft in the absence of his favoured strike partner, Ronaldo.
FW Marco Asensio, 7 -- On for Isco on 66 minutes, the pretender to the throne did little to harm his claim.
MF Marcos Llorente, NR -- On for Casemiro with just under 20 minutes to play, Llorente was tidy enough in his competitive Madrid debut.
FW Lucas Vazquez, NR -- On for Bale with 10 to play, the canterano was energetic as usual but had little time to make an impact.
Rob Train covers Real Madrid and the Spanish national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Cafc13Rob.