KEIR RADNEDGE in CARDIFF: Relieved Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to have overcome the physical pain and mental distress of the World Cup as Real Madrid despatched Sevilla 2-0 in the European Supercup at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Ronaldo scored both goals and collected the man of the match award from his old Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson before expressing his own all-round satisfaction with the game.
Ronaldo said: “I felt good, I didn’t feel any pain. It was my first official match and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but I managed to score early on and that gave me confidence to keep working.
“I think we played better, looked to score more often, deserved the goals and were just winners.”
Ronaldo also paid tribute to high-profile new signings Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez as “crucial players for us” in helping him win a trophy which had hitherto eluded him.
The arrivals of the German and Colombian World Cup stars have provided Madrid with what the Spanish media labelled the ‘300m attack’ and it took them little more half the game to decide it.
After half an hour Gareth Bale switched to the left and crossed to the far post for Ronaldo to make the kill. Three minutes into the second half and the match was effectively over. Kroos found Karim Benzema and the Frenchman angled a further pass forward into the stride of Ronaldo who bent Beto’s fingers back with the power of his left-foot drive.
The chasm between the clubs was illustrated by the issues raised by the coaches after the game.
Sevilla’s Unai Emery regretted the need to have sold leftback Alberto Moreno to Liverpool for £12m on the eve of the game while Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti relished the “extraordinary quality” of his squad.
Emery said: “Finals are there to be won which is what we went out to do though we knew we were facing very strong rivals. In attack we weren’t as aggressive as we could have been but our fans were outstanding.
“They understood that the players were giving everything they could and they supported us right to the end when we almost scored.”
Ancelotti was quick to praise the debuts of Kroos and Rodriguez but denied he would confront selection problems because of the weight of star talent at his disposal.
The Italian said: “We might be starting a very important cycle because we have a squad of extraordinary quality and I am fortunate to coach an outstanding set of players who can reach the highest heights and compete in all competitions.
“It’s hard to improve. We have an outstanding set of players and it’s important to use the full squad to its capacity because I cannot have a constant, permanent starting 11. To be competitive in all competitions we need to rotate the players and use the full squad.”
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