Ronaldo revels in free role at Real
Cristiano Ronaldo was delighted to start his Real Madrid career with a debut goal and a win as the new generation of 'Galacticos' defeated Deportivo La Coruna 3-2 at home on Saturday in the opening game of the new season.sports Updated: Aug 30, 2009 17:24 IST
Cristiano Ronaldo was delighted to start his Real Madrid career with a debut goal and a win as the new generation of 'Galacticos' defeated Deportivo La Coruna 3-2 at home on Saturday in the opening game of the new season.
Ronaldo, 24, became the most expensive player in history following a 94 million euro summer move from Manchester United and started to repay that fee with a well-taken 35th minute penalty.
The Portuguese international has taken over free-kick and penalty duties at Real and revealed that he had also been given licence to roam all over the pitch.
"My position is set and then I play a free role in the centre, on the right and on the left," said Ronaldo.
Former coach Sir Alex Ferguson often allowed Ronaldo to roam at Manchester United and two seasons ago he responded with a staggering 31 league goals.
Despite a good personal performance on his debut Ronaldo admitted it had been tough going against Depor and called for an improvement.
"It was important for us to start with a win as the first game is always complicated," Ronaldo explained. "We had some good and bad moments in the game and have to improve."
Aside from Ronaldo there were seven other debutants in Kaka, Xabi Alonso, Karim Benzema, Raul Albiol, Ezequiel Garay, Alvaro Arbeloa and Esteban Granero.
Brazilian Kaka was lively before being taken off in the closing stages while Benzema, a 35 million euro signing from Lyon, could have had a debut goal had it not been for the woodwork.
"It was great to start with a win against a tough Depor team," said Benzema. "I had my chances but they went against the woodwork."
Benzema, who has taken over Arjen Robben's number 11 shirt, appears to have won a starting place ahead of Gonzalo Higuain, last season's top-scorer with 22 goals, and is revelling in his partnership with captain Raul.
"We understand each other well and it will get better with more games."
The surprise match winner was French midfielder Lass Diarra, wearing the number 10 shirt vacated by Wesley Sneijder, who rifled home a 60th minute winner.
Diarra doesn't score many - he didn't score once in the league last season - but vowed to have more shots in the future.
"Now I will try (to shoot) more often," said Diarra. "With Xabi (Alonso) and I having a similar role in the middle of the park I can get forward a bit more to support the forwards."