Cristiano Ronaldo turned on a show as Real Madrid demolished Manchester City 4-1 before a record crowd in the International Champions Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
World footballer of the year Ronaldo showcased his sublime skills and was among the goalscorers as Real ripped apart the 2014 English Premier League champions in a blistering first half performance before more than 99,000 fans at the vast stadium.
It was the MCG’s biggest ever crowd for a football-only event.
The 10-time European champions revelled in the atmosphere, opening up Man City with dazzling touches, flicks and clinical finishing for three goals in the first half.
“I’m really pleased to see the team play well and winning the trophy,” Real manager Rafael Benitez said.
“It is really good for everyone when you are working so hard, when the players are having double training sessions and you could see the commitment.
“It’s important to win and to play well is a positive thing for the future.”
French striker Karim Benzema put the Spanish giants ahead with a spectacular finish in the 21st minute.
Benzema hooked in Gareth Bale’s cross over his left shoulder in a brilliant piece of finishing following a fine run down the right wing by Daniel Carvajal in the leadup.
Ronaldo pounced four minutes later, bringing down German Toni Kroos’s long pass with a sublime first touch before poking home.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart was unable to keep the ball from crossing the line for a double Real sucker punch after shaky City defending as Ronaldo thrilled the crowd with his trademark goal celebration.
It got worse for City when central defender Pepe scored Real’s third with an unmarked thumping header off Isco’s corner just minutes before half-time.
Deep in first-half stoppage time City got one goal back through a penalty for a Sergio Ramos hand-ball as he jostled with Raheem Sterling.
Yaya Toure slotted home the spot kick for City to trail 3-1 at the break.
Russian Denis Cheryshev made it four when he stabbed home an Isco cross with 17 minutes left.
City’s night was further soured when new signing Fabian Delph injured his left hamstring and was carried off after just 18 minutes to be replaced by Jesus Navas.
Manager Benitez made four changes at halftime bringing off Benzema, Luka Modric, Carvajal and Pepe, while Manuel Pellegrini left his Man City team unchanged.
Ronaldo, world football’s highest paid player, turned on his party tricks for the appreciative MCG crowd, with his cheeky stepovers and flicks, and was narrowly out when he was released by Gareth Bale only to put an audacious attempt just wide.
Edin Dzeko, the subject of transfer speculation, got his first run of the tournament for City, coming on in the 64th minute as Toure, Ronaldo and Ramos came off at the same time.
City’s record signing Raheem Sterling had a quiet night and was well contained by Ramos before he was substituted midway through the second half.
City paid for the absence of key central defenders Vincent Kompany, who left the tour early to be with his pregnant wife, and Frenchman Eliaquim Mangala, who became ill on the morning of the match.
In their place Pellegrini used Belgian Jason Denayer and youngster Cameron Humphreys in the heart of the defence.
“We knew before the game that it would be difficult to play against such a team of good attackers and missing three centre-backs,” Pellegrini said.
“Mangala was sick this morning and he couldn’t play and after Delph went off injured we had to make some changes but after that it was more about our weak defence.”
Real Madrid now head to China where they will play Italian clubs AC Milan and Inter Milan from July 25-30. – Agence France-Presse