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Ronaldo off to a winning start
Cristiano Ronaldo scores his first goal for Real Madrid in their 3-2 win.
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2009 22:39 GMT

Real Madrid’'s Cristiano Ronaldo starts with a goal from the penalty spot [AFP]
Cristiano Ronaldo began his Real Madrid career with a goal in a 3-2 victory over Deportivo La Coruna to open the Spanish league season.

Madrid's world-record signing scored a penalty in the 35th minute after Raul Gonzalez, who scored Madrid's opener in the 26th, was tripped up by Deportivo goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia inside the area.

Deportivo twice came from behind to equalise through Ivan "Riki'' Sanchez and Juan Carlos Valeron before Lassana Diarra scored the winner in the 60th in front of 80,000 spectators at Santiago Bernabeu stadium, the same number that attended Ronaldo's presentation following his $135 million transfer from Manchester United.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, fresh from a record breaking world championships, launched president Florentino Perez's new "galactico'' era with the ceremonial first kick.

High priced talent

Perez spent about $360 million to bring in the likes of Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso to the Spanish capital, and they were all included in new coach Manuel Pellegrini's starting lineup.

Perez is keen to dislodge arch rival Barcelona from the pinnacle of European football after the Catalan club became the first Spanish team to win three major trophies, the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey, in a season.

But Pellegrini's star-studded squad looks like it needs more time to gel after several defensive lapses and missed opportunities.

Barcelona earned its fifth trophy of 2009 on Friday with a European Supercup win over Shakhtar Donetsk, and will begin its league title defence on Monday against Sporting Gijon.

Kaka, signed from AC Milan for $94 million, nearly started Madrid's new galactico era with a goal in the very first minute, but his low shot went wide of the far post.

But it was Kaka's through ball that set up the first goal as the Brazil playmaker sent Benzema free into the area and, although the France striker put the ball through Aranzubia's legs, the ball bounced off the post straight to veteran striker Raul to slot into the empty net.

Riki equalised for Deportivo four minutes later from a sharp header before Madrid went ahead again.

Ronaldo starts Real account

Diarra sent Raul free into the area in the 34th and Aranzubia tripped up the Madrid captain to allow Ronaldo to open up his Madrid goal account, with the Portugal winger beating Aranzubia with a hard shot low into the corner.

Ronaldo, who hasn't looked comfortable through the preseason, began to find his rhythm.

But in the 44th, Ronaldo struck a free kick from 40 metres high into the stands.

Valeron equalised for Deportivo at the beginning of the second half, the former Spain international controlling Andres Guardado's cross at the top of the area before sending his half-volleyed strike past Iker Casillas and low into the corner.

Valeron's miss with only Casillas to beat in the 57th ultimately proved costly as three minutes later Diarra moved around his marker and beat Aranzubia with a low, diagonal shot from the edge of the area for the winner.

Zaragoza beat Tenerife 1-0 in Saturday’s late game in a matchup of newly promoted teams.

In Sunday's other first round of games, it's: Athletic Bilbao vs. Espanyol; Mallorca vs. Xerez; Osasuna vs. Villarreal; Racing Santander vs. Getafe; Malaga vs. Atletico Madrid; Valencia vs. Sevilla; and Almeria vs. Valladolid.

Source:
Agencies
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