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Ronaldo sparkles in Real Madrid romp

Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick for Real Madrid illuminated an opening night goals bonanza as the leading contenders began the Champions League group stage with a bang on Tuesday.

Thirty goals rained in around Europe with Real trouncing Galatasaray 6-1 in Istanbul, holders Bayern Munich winning 3-0 at home to CSKA Moscow and Manchester United putting four past Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford.

Paris St Germain fired a warning that they will be a real threat with a 4-1 victory away to Olympiakos Piraeus while Manchester City won 3-0 at Czech outsiders Viktoria Plzen.

Ronaldo’s reign as the world’s most expensive footballer ended this month when Real paid Tottenham Hotspur €100m for Gareth Bale but he underlined his role as chief conductor of Los Blancos with a dazzling display.

Bale, who is still building up his match fitness after missing most of pre-season, had the honour of becoming the world’s most costly substitute until he joined the party in the second half, playing a part in Ronaldo’s second goal.

Midfielder Isco began Real’s rout while their France forward Karim Benzema scored twice in a satisfying evening for Real’s new coach Carlo Ancelotti who was treated to a feast of counter-attacking football by his expensively assembled side.

“Things couldn’t have started better for us. Scoring six goals is really good and will give us a lot of confidence,” Ronaldo, who performed a stunning silky dribble for his third goal in stoppage time, told reporters.

While Real, beginning their quest for a long-overdue 10th European crown, issued a powerful statement of intent, the strength of some of their rivals for the silverware would not have gone unnoticed by Ancelotti.

 

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