Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice, Real Madrid captures UEFA Super Cup
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo put a disappointing World Cup behind him, scoring both goals for Real Madrid as they won the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday with a convincing 2-0 victory over Sevilla.
The reigning FIFA World Player of the Year netted just once as Portugal made an early exit from Brazil, but the goal-scoring swagger and might returned in Madrid's first competitive fixture since the Champions League final win in May. Ronaldo swept the ball in at the far post in the 30th minute after racing onto Gareth Bale's cross, and the forward powered in another four minutes into the second half after being setup by Karim Benzema.
The victory secured the first of a possible six trophies for Madrid this season, and the newly-strengthened Spanish capital club had little trouble seeing off the Europa League winners in this all-Spanish encounter. On the outskirts of the Welsh capital next to a retail estate, the world was introduced to a Galacticos side that has taken more than $600 million to assemble.
A club that cherry picks the world's top talent wasted little time signing up the revelation of the World Cup, top-scoring Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez from Monaco for $108 million, along with Germany midfielder Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich for around $40 million.
The European champions, with their extra dynamism, unnerved Sevilla from the start, even if their less potent opponents did produce the first threatening shot of the game when Vitolo's close-range effort was batted away by Iker Casillas. Many locals had snapped up tickets to see Bale playing in his home city for the first time in the white of Real Madrid.
The $130-million Cardiff boy, who made such a devastating impact in his first season in the Spanish capital, just couldn't delight them with a goal. Although his bursts of pace unsettled Sevilla, a tame early shot landed on the roof of the net and a shot from Rodriguez's fine cross was blocked in a crowded penalty area.
Bale started on the right with Ronaldo on the opposite flank, but a quick switch helped Real outwit Sevilla to go in front. Ronaldo started the move on the halfway line before Bale sent in deep, pinpoint cross into the path of the FIFA World Player of the Year to slide in past Fernando Navarro and poke the ball over the line.
After being in complete control of the first half, it took just four minutes into the second half for Madrid to go further in front following a charge down the left flank. The ball eventually reached the edge of the penalty area where Benzema rolled it to Ronaldo, who lashed in a powerful shot through the fingertips of Beto.
Rodriguez couldn't mark his debut with a goal as Madrid looked to add to their double. The Colombian merited it when he brought down Bale's cross in the 68th and unleashed a left-footed strike only to be thwarted by Beto's one-handed save.
Tougher matches will come, but a second trophy can be collected — the domestic Super Cup against Atletico Madrid — before the task of taking the league title off its neighbor begins.