|Gareth Bale with Cristiano Ronaldo, on Tuesday
Cardiff: Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice as a rampant Real Madrid side, featuring the most expensive strike force ever assembled, powered to a 2-0 win over Sevilla in an all-Spanish Uefa Super Cup on Tuesday.
It was a thoroughly deserved victory before a 33,500 crowd at the Cardiff City Stadium in the traditional curtain-raiser to the European club season.
Europa League holders Sevilla battled well but were outclassed by the Champions League winners. Carlo Ancelotti’s men dominated from start to finish with Ronaldo producing two sublime finishes to beat ’keeper Beto, his Portugal teammate, after 30 and 49 minutes while Sevilla were restricted to just two chances.
Real were superior in defence, midfield and attack with Ronaldo showing no sign of the knee injury that blighted his 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil.
After being presented with the Man of the Match trophy by his former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, Ronaldo told reporters: “It’s the first official match of the season and I was not sure how I would feel.
“But I felt good and had no problems, I didn’t feel any pain.
“We realised it was going to be a hard game but we played well, created more opportunities and played better and with more intensity and we were the worthy winners.”
Ronaldo praised debutants Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, now at Real after both enjoyed a successful World Cup. Kroos helped Germany become world champions while Rodriguez was the tournament's top scorer with six goals for Colombia.
Rodriguez, who cost £63 million from AS Monaco, lined up alongside Cardiff-born hero Gareth Bale, the world’s most expensive player at £85 million. Although the European champions only scored twice, they could easily have had six or seven goals.
Ancelotti said Real would be even stronger this season than they were last term.
Ronaldo began the move that led to the first goal inside his own half and finished it by sliding in to convert a deadly accurate crossfield pass from Wales winger Bale.
Benzema and Kroos were involved in the second goal and Ronaldo supplied a thunderous left-foot shot that Beto got a hand to but could not stop.
Bale, playing a club match in Cardiff for the first time in eight years, was cheered every time he touched the ball.
The closest he came to a goal was in the dying minutes when he struck a fierce effort that Beto saved well.
Bale believes his partnership with Ronaldo can get even better this season, which is an ominous warning to the rest of Europe.
“We’ve shown last season what we can do together… We have scored a lot of goals and we enjoy playing with each other,” said the Welshman. “So this season we hope to improve on last. Obviously, we can still improve together and create a good partnership and hopefully we can do that better this season.”
Bale, 25, added: “We know how good we can be and how good we are but we need to keep working hard on the training pitch and the pitch, so hopefully we can keep performances up. We’re looking sharp and looking forward to the season.”