CARDIFF (AP) ― Moving on from a frustrating World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo began the new season as the last one ended for Real Madrid ― with goals and a trophy.
The Portugal forward netted both goals as the European champions convincingly overcame Europa League winner Sevilla with a 2-0 victory to collect the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday.
Ronaldo swept the ball in at the far post in the 30th minute after racing onto Gareth Bale’s cross, and the world player of the year powered in another four minutes into the second half after being setup by Karim Benzema.
“I didn’t feel any pain ― I felt pretty good,” said Ronaldo, who scored just once in three World Cup games after arriving in Brazil hampered by a left leg injury. “I felt happy to help the team win the trophy ... we played better, with more intensity.”
|Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (left) celebrates his goal against Sevilla on Tuesday. (AP-Yonhap)|
Madrid only collected two pieces of silverware last season, but the Copa del Rey triumph was following by ending a 12-year wait to claim a 10th European Cup.
Victory in Tuesday’s all-Spanish showpiece game captured the first of a possible six trophies for Madrid this season ― a task helped by summer additions that ensured the value of the starting lineup at the Cardiff City Stadium exceeded $600 million.
Madrid moved swiftly to sign 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.
Madrid, 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.
“We were missing something and weren’t as aggressive as we could have been,” Sevilla coach Unai Emery said through a translator.
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. Man United beats Valencia 2-1
MANCHESTER, England (AP) ― Manchester United named Wayne Rooney as its new captain on Tuesday shortly after the team beat Valencia 2-1 in manager Louis van Gaal’s first home game in charge of the English Premier League club.
Rooney will wear the armband in United’s season opener against Swansea City with Darren Fletcher named the vice-captain. The striker takes over the captaincy from Nemanja Vidic who joined Italian club Inter Milan in the offseason.
Substitute Marouane Fellaini scored in second-half stoppage time in United’s final warm-up game ahead of the start of the new season.
Van Gaal, who signed a three-year contract to succeed David Moyes at Old Trafford, had enjoyed a strong preseason winning all five of the club’s matches on their tour of the United States.
Despite the late victory, van Gaal was critical of his team ahead of the start of the season. “I think it was our worst match today. There was a lot of wrong choices, wrong passes and we didn’t press so good,” said the United boss.
However he was quick to praise the home crowd after walking out at Old Trafford for the first time.
“Fantastic. They (the fans) are shouting and screaming your name,” noted the 62-year-old.
Wayne Rooney spurned the chance to give the hosts a first-half lead, when his penalty was saved by goalkeeper Diego Alves in the 32nd minute.