Ceballos has been like a new signing for Real Madrid


Real Madrid ended the Madrid derby with a point and, while they are disappointed not to have won after bossing the second half, there was one major positive to emerge from the game – the performance of Dani Ceballos.

The injury to Gareth Bale saw the former Real Betis man come on at half time and he shone in the second half, taking advantage of Real Madrid’s numerical advantage in midfield by finding space to operate within.

Ceballos allowed Los Blancos to break through the lines, to get into the Atletico Madrid box and to cause problems as they dominated the ball.

Luka Modric and Toni Kroos controlled the centre of the park, but Ceballos was always asking for the ball and his teammates looked for him first every time, and Atleti did not know how to stop him.

To convert his impact into numerical value, it is noteworthy that he was the Real Madrid player with the best passing percentage, completing 95.56 percent of his passes, far exceeding Bale’s figures.


Ceballos made 45 passes compared to 15 by the Welshman, and had 57 touches to Bale’s 24.

Without Isco and potentially without Bale, Real Madrid are entering a challenging and important part of the calendar.

Since Julen Lopetegui arrived at Valdebebas, Ceballos has been given an opportunity to resurrect his career after limited minutes under Zinedine Zidane.

Ceballos’ role was made so clear from early on that Mateo Kovacic took a flight to London, as he knew what was coming.

In the absence of major signings, Ceballos has become the best addition to the Real Madrid squad, a year after his arrival.

He has already enjoyed a number of starts and he is a regular substitute if Lopetegui does start him on the bench.

The derby gave him wings and now he must learn to hang in the air on his own.