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Who is Real Madrid's Player of the Season?

This has been a strange season for Real Madrid

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Disappointment in Liga and Copa, but Los Blancos are still alive in the Champions League and here, a look at their outstanding performers this term.

This has been a strange season for Real Madrid. After winning a Liga and Champions League double in 2016-17, Zinedine Zidane's side were expected to dominate in the current campaign. But things have not worked out as planned.

Having claimed the UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Supercopa in August, the latter with a spectacular 5-1 aggregate win over Barcelona, Real suffered an inconsistent start to the defence of their Primera Division title and have never really recovered.

Another title arrived in December as Madrid won the Club World Cup by beating Gremio in the final, but more disappointment followed with a 3-0 Clasico defeat at home to Barca and then, in January, Copa del Rey elimination at the hands of little Leganes.

That left the Champions League as the only option in terms of a trophy at the end of this season and after finishing second in their group (behind Tottenham), Madrid have improved in the knockout stages.

Zidane's side beat Paris Saint-Germain home and away in the last 16, before knocking out Juventus in the quarter-finals last week, when they threw away a 3-0 first-leg lead but prevailed thanks to a dramatic late penalty to win 4-3 on aggregate at the Bernabeu a week ago.

Many players have been important this term and some more consistent than others in an overall dip in form, with Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Dani Carvajal and Casemiro at a good level virtually throughout.

Many others, such as Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Marcelo, Isco, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, have impressed at times and some more than others, but have not made it onto the final list of the club's best players this season.

Here, Goal picks the top three for 2017-18, in descending order. But what do you think? Feel free to join the debate in the comment box at the bottom of the page!

1. LUCAS VAZQUEZ

Lucas Vazquez Real Madrid

Lucas Vazquez Real Madrid

Lucas Vazquez was only a fringe player at the beginning of the season, but has grabbed his chance in recent weeks and made himself an indispensable figure in Real Madrid's run-in.

It was the winger who won the penalty against Juventus that saw Los Blancos edge out the Italian champions at the Santiago Bernabeu last week and the 26-year-old has chipped in with eight goals and eight assists this term – many of them important.

The Galician was cut from the squad from last season's Champions League final against Juve in Cardiff, but revealed afterwards that his coach had apologised. "Zidane told me was sorry," he said.

But there were no hard feelings and after last week's win on aggregate over the same side, he said: "Zidane is always giving me advice. It is a pleasure to work with him."

It is likely his coach thinks the same and the two were pictured in an emotive embrace in the dressing room after the game against Juve. And if Madrid make the final this time, there is no way Lucas will be left out. He is one of the big guys now.


2. MARCO ASENSIO

Marco Asensio Real Madrid

Marco Asensio Real Madrid

Along with Lucas, Marco Asensio is a symbol of Real Madrid's upturn in form and results in the second half of the season.

The former Mallorca midfielder hit two stunning strikes in the Supercopa series against Barcelona, but then found opportunities somewhat more limited in La Liga and has had to work hard to prove himself all over again.

The 22-year-old came off the bench along with Lucas to change the course of Madrid's match at home to PSG as both the second and third goals came from his runs down the left.

He then started in Paris in the second leg and despite being left out of the line-ups in both games against Juventus, he was called on by Zidane at half-time in the team's hour of need.

Asensio has already matched last season's tally of 10 goals in all competitions and is getting better and better. "Zidane is giving me confidence," he said recently. Soon, the Frenchman will not be able to leave him out any more.


1. CRISTIANO RONALDO

Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo has not had his best season, either, but Madrid's top performances this term have coincided with his superb streak in front of goal over the past few months.

Top scorer in the Champions League group stages, the Portuguese managed to find the target only four times in the first half of La Liga and that frustrating run was part of the problem for Los Blancos in the Primera Division.

Since the winter break, however, he has been back at his breathtaking best and has hit 27 goals in just 18 games, his best-ever start to a calendar year, netting in each of his last 11 matches. In total, he has 41 this term, one behind his mark for the whole of last season.

Those have included three in the two games against PSG and three more in the tie versus Juve, among them the stunning bicycle kick in Turin which left the home fans on their feet and applauding.

"Cristiano Ronaldo does things sometimes that only he can do," Zidane said afterwards. "It is one of the most beautiful goals in the history of football." And he will hope his forward can keep on scoring in the Champions League, just like he did last season.

Source: goal.com

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