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Page last updated at 22:10 GMT, Saturday, 29 August 2009 23:10 UK

Ronaldo in winning start for Real

Cristiano Ronaldo
Former Man Utd star Ronaldo celebrates netting a spot kick

Cristiano Ronaldo scored on his La Liga debut for Real Madrid in a 3-2 victory against Deportivo La Coruna.

The £80m Portuguese - one of eight summer 'galactico' recruits - netted the second goal, but Real had to rely on Lassana Diarra for the winner.

Raul put Real ahead while Riki equalised for Deportivo, before Ronaldo drilled home a 35th-minute penalty after Raul was fouled by Aranzubia.

Juan Carlos Valeron levelled, only for Diarra to fire home on the hour.

"We created a lot of chances, but the most important thing was to achieve the victory," said £65m signing Kaka. "It wasn't an easy game."

Usain Bolt, fresh from his record-breaking exploits in the 100m and 200m at the athletics World Championships, was presented to the Bernabeu crowd prior to kick-off and launched president Florentino Perez's latest 'galactico' era with the ceremonial first kick.

Perez spent about 250m euros bringing in the likes of Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso to the Spanish capital, and they were all included in new coach Manuel Pellegrini's starting lineup.

Perez is keen to dislodge archrival Barcelona from the pinnacle of European football after the Catalan club became the first Spanish team to win the treble - the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey - in a season.

Although Real looked disjointed in the early stages, they took a 26th-minute lead when veteran Raul finished easily after Karim Benzema's shot was deflected onto the near post by Daniel Aranzubia.

Ronaldo should have made it 2-0 three minutes later but his header from fellow debutant Xabi Alonso's free-kick went over the bar.

Deportivo equalised from an almost identical situation, when Juca launched a free-kick into the box and Riki, the former Madrid youth-team player, got in between two defenders to direct a header past Iker Casillas from seven yards.

The equaliser fired Real into action and the spotlight was on Ronaldo when Raul had been sent sprawling by Aranzubia.

The Fifa World Player of the Year, Real Madrid's record signing, showed no signs of nerves as he drove his spot-kick just inside the post.

Real missed a few chances and were punished for their profligacy when, a minute after the break, Deportivo equalised again.

Andres Guardado's cross to the edge of the box found Valeron unmarked and the veteran had sufficient time to control the ball and fire past Casillas.

Ironically, given the publicity surrounding the high-profile signings this summer, Pellegrini had former Portsmouth player Diarra to thank for getting Real off to a winning start.

The midfielder took aim with a low 25-yard shot which crept inside the far post and handed Pellegrini's men the points as they seek to challenge Barcelona.



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see also
Galacticos take off in Madrid
29 Aug 09 |  Football
Uefa warning over clubs' spending
28 Aug 09 |  Europe
Alonso completes 30m Real move
05 Aug 09 |  Liverpool
Real Madrid agree on Benzema deal
02 Jul 09 |  Europe
Reaction to Real's Ronaldo offer
11 Jun 09 |  Man Utd
Kaka completes Real Madrid switch
09 Jun 09 |  Europe
Real appoint Pellegrini as coach
01 Jun 09 |  Europe


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