Real Madrid’s Top Performers 2023/24: Bellingham Shines, Veterans Deliver

As the regular season has ended after Real Madrid won the Champions League, only two weeks separate us from the beginning of the Euro 2024. So, now it’s time for The Player Rating of Real Madrid of the season. While the usual suspects unsurprisingly make up the bulk of the roster, there could well be a few surprise packages sprinkled into the mix.

10. Antonio Rüdiger

Rüdiger is the only player, besides Nacho, who did not fall prey to injuries. Rüdiger led the backline, dealing with more physical strikers (like Erling Haaland vs Manchester City) and acting as an aggressive marker.

Through his anticipation, he prevents many goals from happening in the first place. His unique man-marking style torments confident strikers, instilling a sense of fear in his opponents.

In his second season at Madrid, he has become one of the most important players of the season. He represents Madrid’s winning mentality, always focused on his man until the final whistle.

9. Federico Valverde

At twenty-five, Valverde is now a key player at Real Madrid. His stats don’t fully represent his brilliance, although three goals and eight assists as a midfielder are respectable. However, what truly sets him apart is his athletic level and consistency.

For the last few years, he has acted as the unstoppable engine of the team, seemingly never suffering from fatigue. In recent years, Madrid suffered from a lack of dynamism due to the aging Kroos-Modrić duo, who are not the fastest players on the pitch.

However, with Valverde, it is the complete opposite. This campaign he acted as a never-failing crossing machine instead of the goal threat in the box he was the season before. By now, he has become a cheat code in Madrid’s counter-attacks due to his abnormal acceleration.

8. Ferland Mendy

If Carvajal is the prime example of an offensive full-back, Mendy is the best example of a defensive full-back. Criticized for his lack of involvement in the final third, the French left-back was instead used as an anchor, acting as a wall in the defence.

He may not provide the support Vinicius Jr. needs at times, but he stopped many wingers from entering Madrid’s box through the wings. And this is exactly what he was originally signed for – it is encouraging to see the club finally use his resources to the fullest extent.

7. Dani Carvajal

Carvajal is another player who was widely tipped for a sharp downturn this 2023/24 campaign. His previous season had been forgettable, often too slow and overwhelmed by pacy wingers.

Despite struggling in the first half of the Champions League final against Adeyemi, Carvajal ended up scoring the opener with a header.

His season is a good example for many young full-backs about the offensive dynamics of the position. Finishing with an impressive six goals and five assists, it would be a gross understatement to say he’s been anything less than instrumental for Los Blancos.

6. Nacho Fernández

Fernández is a name that would have raised more than a few eyebrows appearing among Real Madrid’s top performers this term.

He is a classic late bloomer, only coming to full fruition after many years as a squad member. He frequently played as a result of the crippling injuries at the club that kept stalwart Militao sidelined for a large chunk of the season.

Fernández proved to be reliable and captained the club to a Champions League victory and a La Liga title. It goes without saying: Doing so, when usually playing as a squad player, is a huge achievement. Without a doubt, Fernández has now etched his name into Real Madrid’s illustrious folklore forever more.

5. Andriy Lunin

Lunin is not a name many would have expected to see on this list at the beginning of the season.

For years he barely played, merely an understudy owing to the immense brilliance of Thibaut Courtois between the sticks.

But the Belgian suffered an injury, and Lunin got his chance after Chelsea-loaned Kepa failed to impress. The Ukrainian goalkeeper also had to deal with a defence that crumbled under the spate of injuries.

He has been repeatedly tested and shown that he is a world-class goalkeeper. He was given only one chance and managed to impress every fan. That is unusual for a goalkeeper, but Lunin is more than the average goalie.

4. Joselu

When Joselu was announced as the replacement for Karim Benzema, many thought this would become a problem for Real Madrid. However, the former Espanyol player did not only score more than ten goals, he also showed he is a reliable striker despite not playing with the best aesthetics.

As a squad player, he has exceeded all expectations. Making the jump from relegation to Champions League football is not for everyone, but Joselu easily adapted, and his presence in the box allowed Bellingham to thrive. This alone would be a reason to include him in the list of Madrid’s best 2023-2024 players.

3. Vinicius Jr

By now, he has established himself as the best winger in the world. Having been the victim of racism, this only makes it more impressive.

The Brazilians were the main character of the forward line this campaign, and teams have started to create ‘Anti-Vinicius’ plans, which shows the extent of the Brazilian’s success.

He finished the season with twenty-four goals and eleven assists in thirty-nine games. Moreover, his dribbling remains a torment for defenders across the world – a testament to his brilliance.

2. Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos has always been a bona fide Real Madrid legend, and now the curtain has finally fallen on his iconic career.

An entire generation of fans grew up watching the German maestro weave his magic in the famous white shirt. In his swansong season, Kroos underlined exactly why he is admired across the globe – an eternal source of inspiration.

He retires at his peak, tearing apart defenses with his genius vision and passing range right until the very end. There is a clear difference between a Kroos-inclusive and a Kroosless Real Madrid, such was his control and manipulation of the tempo.

His passing success and accuracy have allowed Madrid to expertly escape the tightest of presses and ignite attacks at will. While he may not have filled his boots with goals and assists, Kroos’ true impact is measured by the ease with which he facilitated Madrid’s play – an eternal cheat code for his teammates.

At thirty-four years old, he had one of the best seasons a midfield metronome could ever hope to produce.

1. Jude Bellingham

The Englishman’s exploits need no introduction – he is now a certified world icon. Having arrived for more than £100m, the weight of expectation on Jude’s young shoulders was immense.

Despite that, the 2003-born wunderkind proved that he has what it takes to be a star at the biggest club in the world. His performances now inspire the rest of the world, as he has become a leader – and this was merely his debut campaign.

These are only the beginnings, and they’re very promising. The Englishman was involved in the Pichichi race, despite not being an out-and-out striker. The spotlight has been on him as he has single-handedly transformed the team. He finished the season with twenty-three goals and thirteen assists in forty-two games – the stats say it all.

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