Jude Bellingham can't run the show every game. It is good for Real Madrid, then, that they have a few other midfielders in their ranks. This week, it was Federico Valverde who ran things, with the Uruguayan scoring Madrid's equaliser and turning in his best showing of the season in a 2-1 comeback win over Real Sociedad.
But it wasn't a comfortable start at the Santiago Bernabeu. A former Madrid man got things going for La Real. Takefusa Kubo, who Los Blancos let go on a permanent deal last summer, played an incisive pass through the Madrid defence, which Ander Barrene bundled over the line — despite Kepa Arrizabalaga's best efforts. Kubo had the ball in the net again 10 minutes later, but saw his curled effort ruled out after it glanced the body of an offside Mikel Oyarzabal.
Joselu rattled the bar with the goal gaping shortly after, but Madrid created little for the remainder of the first half. They only needed 43 seconds after the break to change things, though. Valverde levelled the scoreline with a fine side-footed strike into the net from the edge of the box. The second came after an hour, as Joselu headed Fran Garcia's cross into the bottom corner.
There were further chances for Madrid. Toni Kroos curled a free-kick narrowly wide. Valverde saw a good opportunity for a second deflected past the post and Bellingham was denied late on. Still, although they were far from convincing in the first half, Madrid, led by Valverde, did enough to grab three big points and maintain their perfect start to the 2023-24 Liga season.
GOAL rates Real Madrid's players from the Santiago Bernabeu...