Football Features

“The Once and Future King of Football” – Player ratings as Mbappé drives PSG to 1-0 win over Real Madrid

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:34, 15 February 2022 | Updated: 19:06, 24 November 2022

In a tight and tense night of football, PSG left it late to beat Real Madrid 1-0 and take a big lead in the Champions League.

Here’s how the players rated at Parc des Princes:

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Gianluigi Donnarumma – 5 – Had no saves to make. Touched the ball just 15 times.

Achraf Hakimi – 8 – A potent and peristent threat in attack. Tracked back well to help contain Vinicius as well. A superb performance that really highlighted how strange it was that Real Madrid sold him in the first place.

Marquinhos – 7 – Swept up anything Madrid tried in attack. A calm and composed display.

Presnel Kimpembe – 7 – Solid against the Madrid front-line, such as it was.

Nuno Mendes – 8 – Started sloppily but grew into the game and began playing really well. 5 tackles was a game-high.

Danilo – 8 – Covered for Hakimi’s forward runs superbly. A really disciplined display.

Leandro Paredes – 7 – Pinged the ball about the pitch with consumate ease. Defended well too.

Marco Verratti – 9 – Ran the show. Excellent movement, tenacious tackling and perceptive passing. Every good thing PSG did ran through him. Had the most touches (123), created the most chances (6) and quite simply dominated the game.

Angel Di Maria – 6 – Big miss early when he skied an Mbappé cross. Offered nothing in attack but did track back and work hard.

Kylian Mbappé – 8 – Excellent play early on. Great movement and pace. Made a sitter for Di Maria, then missed a couple himself after superb creative play from Messi. Didn’t use the ball well in the first-half but kept plugging away and in the end won the game with a goal of miraculous quality, obliterating the Madrid defence to slide home. A display of such match-winning potency Florentino Perez will be adding a few zeroes to his contract offer for the summer. And it’ll still be a bargain. The Once and Future King of Football.

Leo Messi – 6 – Meandered. Kept looking for the kill-shot. Didn’t play well in general but still created four chances and they were all incredible and should have resulted in goals. Missed a penalty on the hour mark in a moment of such nonsense that it could have cost PSG the tie. Watching him at PSG is like watching Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again. He’s still got it, but something is missing.

PSG Substitutes:

Neymar (for Di Maria 73′) – 7 – Showed glimpses of his magnificence, including a hilarious but brilliant backheel assist.

Idrissa Gueye (for Danilo 87′) – 7 – Added a serious jolt of energy to spark a flagging PSG back to life for the end of the game.

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Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois – 8 – A magnificent performance undone at the very end. Was so imperious in goal, collecting crosses and making saves. His penalty stop from Messi was great, his saves from Mbappé the same. Just didn’t get the luck he needed at the end.

Dani Carvajal – 3 – Absolutely atrocious. Completely incapable of handling any sort of pressure albeit he is obviously nowhere close to match fitness. Gave away a penalty with a stupid lunge on Mbappé. That PSG weren’t able to actually punish him more than they did is a big condemnation of their approach.

Eder Militao – 6 – Got stuck in to try and stem the tides of Parisian attacks. Was too passive defending Mbappé on the game-winner.

David Alaba – 8 – A sturdy display at the heart of Madrid’s defence.

Ferland Mendy – 7 – Did really well to protect his flank. Madrid got no joy from him.

Casemiro – 8 – A brilliant performance, especially after an early yellow confirmed he would miss the second-leg.

Luka Modric – 7 – Incredible in a defensive capacity sweeping the passing lanes that Messi so often likes to use.

Toni Kroos – 7 – Nowhere near his effective self.

Marco Asensio – 5 – Just nothing.

Vini Jr. – 5 – Kept quiet by Danilo and Hakimi.

Karim Benzema – 5 – Some delirious touches of the ball, but quite clearly not match fit. Madrid will now be building him up for the second-leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.


Lucas Vazquez (for Carvajal 72′) – 4 – Came on. Got rinsed for the game-winner.

Rodrygo (for Asensio 72′) – 6 – Looked the liveliest guy in attack for Madrid.

Eden Hazard (for Vinicius 82′) – 5 – Did nothing.

Fede Valverde (for Modric 82′) – 5 – Just a second too late to block Mbappé’s shot and ended up deflecting it.

Gareth Bale (for Benzema 87′) – n/a – Came late.