Ronaldo and Rooney star as Champions league returns
It is the most prestigious prize in club football, and last night the champions league returned in the group stages with the biggest sides in Europe looking to lay down a marker.
Last years winners of the season long cup tournament were Bayern Munich, and they made an efficient star to their trophy defence, besting CSKA Moscow 3 nil. But the night really belonged to the European giants Real Madrid, who went to Turkey and blasted Galatasaray 6 – 1. The match was notable for a hat trick from the sublime Cristiano Ronaldo and a series of assists for new boy and worlds most expensive player Gareth Bale. Madrid looked unstoppable and this really was a statement of intent, the club has a rich history of European cup wins but hasn’t won one since 2002. With an unstoppable Ronaldo and Bale now lining up in a fearsome attack maybe this could be their year. Indeed, this is Ronaldo’s 204th goal in only 203 games for Madrid, the man is a machine. No wonder Madrid tied him down with a new contact last week, making him the highest paid footballer on the planet at £15 million a year.
Manchester United also showed that they still have the attacking prowess to boss in the competition this year. Against very good German opposition, Bayer Leverkusen, United ran out 4-2 winners, Two goals and an assist for man of the match Wayne Rooney, a goal for Robin Van Persie and goal for Antonio Valencia. United did concede two, but in fairness United could have hit Five or Six in superb movement and passing sequences. The Second goal they conceded was late in the match when the team had relaxed, a mistake they will likely iron out. All in all a fantastic night for new manager David Moyes in his first taste of European football. And for Wayne Rooney his 200th goal for United, meaning he is just 50 more goals away from replacing Sir Bobby Charlton as the clubs all time leading scorer.
The other big club in action was Italian champions Juventus, who shockingly had to come from a goal down to draw 1 1 with minnows FC Copenhagen. A dramatic result for the usual reliable Italian giants. PSG and Man City also got off to good starts, PSG beating Olympiakos by Four goals to One, and Man City easily beating Viktor Plzen 3 – 0 in the end after a poor goalless first half. Other results saw Shaktar Donetsk beat Real Sociedad 2 nil and Benfica beat Anderlectht 2 nil.
The champions league continues tonight with more big names. The mighty Barcelona host European giants of yesteryear Ajax, and the underdog Glasgow Celtic travel to the majesty of the San Siro to face AC Milan. Those Two games should be excellent. Dortmund vs Napoli sees Two very good teams go head to head, and elsewhere Arsenal travel to Marseille while Chelsea host Basel.
The week however already seems to belong to one team and one man, Cristiano Ronaldo and his Real Madrid team who blasted the ball Six times into opposition netting.
G.J Herbert is a British features writer who has worked in content writing for business and been published in regional titles and nationally in The Sun newspaper. For his sports coverage follow him at https://twitter.com/gjhsports