The weekend ended with yet another opportunity for Madridistas to watch their players in action, as the UEFA Nations League continued. Sergio Ramos and Sergio Reguilon were in action for Spain against Ukraine, while Toni Kroos captained Germany as they faced Switzerland. Elsewhere, Luka Jovic would have hoped to get some minutes for Serbia against Turkey, and Gareth Bale played the full game against Bulgaria.
Spain 4-0 Ukraine
A highly entertaining match, at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, particularly because Luis Enrique chose to play further up the pitch with natural wide-players. Two debuts were handed, Reguilon and Barcelona teenager Ansu Fati, and both played a crucial role in this comfortable evening for La Roja.
Within the opening four minutes, Ansu was unleashed, tricking his way past a number of challenges before being caught in the box, penalty given. Ramos stepped up, and tucked it away, despite goalkeeper Andrii Pyatov getting a strong hand to it.
The attacks just kept flowing, Barcelona’s youngster was tearing apart Ukraine’s right-back Oleksandr Tymchyk. And the second didn’t take too long to arrive. Dani Olmo – who BILD reported was a recent target of Real Madrid’s – floated a diagonal pass into the box, finding Ramos who lobbed Pyatov with a header to double Spain’s lead.
And before the break it was three! Ansu was a nightmare for the back-line all game, cut back in, and despite bodies in the way, still managed to curve a shot around them and into the back of the net to cap off a magnificent first start for his national team.
Ramos was replaced in the second half on a historic night, as he became the highest scoring defender for any European team in history. Eric Garcia came on for the skipper, and Ramos was watching from the stands when Ferran Torres came on to score a fourth. Worryingly for Madrid, Reguilon went down badly in stoppage time, with his ankle appearing to twist unnaturally, and he was in a heap of pain before being helped off the pitch.
Dani Carvajal was an unused substitute for Enrique, while both Florentino Perez and Marco Asensio were also in attendance.
Switzerland 1-1 Germany
One of the favourites to go all the way in this tournament, Germany threw away their advantage against an always dangerous Swiss side if you don’t put them away.
Kroos captained, and played the entire game, and would have been proud of Ilkay Gundogan’s opener before the 15 minute mark. A goal scored by the Manchester City midfielder, straight out of the Kroos textbook. But disaster struck in the second half, as the hosts were level.
Silvan Widmer with the equaliser, and it could have got worse for Joachim Lowe’s men, had Switzerland taken their chances late on.
Serbia 0-0 Turkey
Serbian head coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic chose Aleksandar Mitrovic ahead of Luka Jovic for the second straight Nations League outing – the Real striker remained on the bench throughout the contest. A game which had its chances, but ultimately lacked the decisive finishing from the forwards, points shared.
Wales 1-0 Bulgaria
After a forgettable showing against Finland last time out, Gareth Bale stood up and led from the front as the Welsh Dragons recorded another 1-0 win, this time against a dangerous Bulgaria outfit.
But they left it late once more, Neco Willams with a 94th minute winner, courtesy of an assist from Jonathan Williams. Regardless of where Bale’s future is, Madrid will be pleased he played the full 90 minutes without any pain, and contributed to the pitch in the attacking third for his national team.