Ronaldo looks on the bright side as Bernabeu bow doesn't go to plan
27 July 2009 05:57
Cristiano Ronaldo was unconcerned that his home debut for Real Madrid failed to result in a victory, pointing out the main target is to be in peak form in time for the start of the new season.
Ronaldo, who had never before played at the Bernabeu, was included in Manuel Pellegrini's starting XI for Sunday night's Peace Cup clash with Al-Ittihad, along with fellow newcomers Karim Benzema and Ezequiel Garay.
However, it was not to be a winning return to home soil for the Spanish giants following their trip to Ireland as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Al-Ittihad in a match Madrid can consider themselves somewhat fortunate they did not lose.
Pain in Spain: Cristiano Ronaldo's first home match for Real Madrid finished 1-1 with Al-Ittihad
Raul gave the hosts a 55th-minute lead but the impressive Hicham Aboucherouane levelled soon after for Al-Ittihad, who created enough opportunities to make it an unhappy night for Madrid in front of an estimated crowd of around 30,000 at the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo insists nobody should read too much into the match though, saying: "We wanted to win but we've come up a against a tough team. But it doesn't matter because we are in pre-season and the most important thing is that we continue getting into shape. I'm happy.
"Now what we have to think about is getting in shape. What happened is normal because we've only been working together for 17 days and the key thing is to work hard to be able to start the league as strong as possible."
Ronaldo's early touches were cheered by the crowd and the Portugal international showed occasional glimpses of the skill that persuaded Madrid to splash out a world-record £80million this summer before he was substituted midway through the second half.
Cristiano Ronaldo wears his new No 9 shirt
Sure you made the right move? Ronaldo wears his new No 9 shirt
The former Manchester United man's best moment came just before the break when he combined brilliantly with Benzema before firing in a low left-footed shot from the edge of the box that visiting keeper Mabrouk Zaid did well to turn behind for a corner.
Ronaldo, who was pleased by the reception he got from the fans, admits there is still plenty more to come from him and his team-mates, adding on his club's website: "I'm very happy for having made my debut at the Santiago Bernabeu. The fans have applauded and I've enjoyed it a lot.
"Many new players have come in and we are starting to understand each other. I think it's normal that the work we are doing can't be seen yet."
Madrid are back in action on on Tuesday night when they play host to Liga de Quito, who beat Al-Ittihad 3-1 in their opening Peace Cup game.