The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ronaldo fires on Real debut
- Brazilian superstar takes just a minute to find target against Alaves

Madrid: Ronaldo came off the bench to make a dramatic Real Madrid debut on Sunday, scoring his first goal within 60 seconds and adding a second 14 minutes later to help his side to a 5-2 win over a bewildered Alaves.

The Brazilian, playing his first competitive match since scoring twice in the World Cup final win over Germany, came close to capping his comeback with a hattrick only for his low right-foot shot to speed narrowly wide.

As the whistle blew a few seconds later, Ronaldo walked off to a standing ovation from an ecstatic 75,000-strong full house at the Bernabeu.

It was a remarkable return for the 26-year-old striker, who was beset by minor injuries after his 45 million euro move from Inter Milan.

Real fans roared their approval as their new hero trotted out to replace Javier Portillo after 64 minutes with Real struggling to hold on to a 2-1 lead.

Alaves had been trailing 0-2 to a stunning Zinedine Zidane strike and a Luis Figo penalty but the Basque side had reduced the arrears through Magno Mocelin and Ivan Alonso had just missed a penalty.

The introduction of Ronaldo immediately brought an end to all Alaves resistance, though, as the Brazilian put weeks of injury frustration behind him in stunning style.

A minute after his introduction, Roberto Carlos, his colleague in the World Cup winning Brazilian side, floated over a cross that evaded two Alaves defenders.

Ronaldo, finding himself unmarked, leant back to control the ball on his chest before smashing past advancing keeper Richard Dutruel and running back to be mobbed by his teammates.

His second goal, which came after Figo had added his second to make it 4-1, was less spectacular but equally well received.

Steve McManaman was the architect this time, the England midfielder finding Ronaldo in space with a deft angled pass and leaving the Brazilian to do the rest with a well directed right-foot shot.

Deep in injury time, a few minutes after Alonso had pulled a goal back for Alaves, Ronaldo found himself unmarked once again on the left of the area but this time his finish was a metre or so wide of the target.

Ronaldo’s pre-season was disrupted by the wrangling that finally led to his move from Inter Milan to Real and his debut had to be put on hold as he struggled to overcome a series of injuries.

Ronaldo was passed fit to join the Real squad for the first time on Saturday but he warned that he was still not in condition to play a full 90 minutes and coach Vicente del Bosque opted to play Portillo and Guti up front.

With Fernando Morientes and Raul injured a Ronaldo debut looked certain at some point and Del Bosque finally gave the crowd what they wanted midway through the second half.

Ronaldo was top-scorer in the World Cup held in South Korea and Japan with eight goals. He scored twice in the final against Germany and became the first player since 1974 to notch up more than six goals in a World Cup. (Reuters)

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