Cristiano Ronaldo upstaged new team-mates Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez and homecoming hero Gareth Bale as Real Madrid beat Sevilla 2-0 in Cardiffto win the UEFA Super Cup.
World Cup stars Kroos and Rodriguez were making their Madrid debuts, while Bale was returning to his hometown, but it was Ronaldo, characteristically, who hogged the spotlight with a brace in the Welsh capital.
The Portugal captain claimed a 30th-minute opener from Bale´s cross and then slammed home a second goal shortly after half-time to earn the European champions what could be the first of six trophies this season. “We knew this would be a complex game, but we played well and created goal-scoring opportunities,” said Ronaldo, who was named man of the match by his former Manchester United mentor Alex Ferguson.
On Kroos and Rodriguez, he added: “These are two crucial players for us. They played well and they helped the team win this important trophy.
“While 80-million-euro ($108 million) new recruit Rodriguez had a modest debut, Madrid´s new-look attack — which cost roughly 310 million euros to assemble — showed ominous flashes of quality.
Victory gave Madrid only their second European Super Cup, after a maiden triumph in 2002, and enabled Carlo Ancelotti´s side to avenge a costly 2-1 loss at the hands of Europa League winners Sevilla in La Liga last season.
While Ancelotti named both Kroos and Rodriguez in his starting XI, Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno was omitted from his side´s match-day squad amid reports he is on the verge of joining Liverpool.
With Kroos sitting in front of the back four and Rodriguez to his left in a 4-3-3 shape, Madrid quickly assumed control of the game at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Bale and then Ronaldo, with a free-kick, saw efforts deflected narrowly off-target, before Bale´s outside-of-the-foot volley from a Rodriguez left-wing cross was blocked by a defender.