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Ronaldo in England... to help Real Madrid stuff Bournemouth

Here’s how Spain’s second best club are shaping up.

CRISTIANO RONALDO AND his Real Madrid team-mates enjoyed their trip to the seaside on Sunday as the Spanish giants romped to a 6-0 victory in a pre-season friendly against English minnows Bournemouth.

Real’s visit to the English holiday resort was one of the more unlikely warm-up fixtures in recent memory, but the presence of such a star-studded line-up sparked a frenzied response in the usually sleepy south-coast town.

When Bournemouth announced details of the glamour friendly at the end of last season, the club were criticised for charging £60 for tickets, but the sell-out 12,000 crowd, many of whom had queued overnight when seats went on sale, demonstrated Real’s pulling power.

A new temporary stand was erected at the Goldsands Stadium especially for the occasion, and those fans crammed in for a once in a lifetime chance to see some of the sport’s biggest names were rewarded as Real boss Carlo Ancelotti sent out a strong side.

Former Manchester United forward Ronaldo was the star attraction, while Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and Mesut Ozil all started, as did recent signings Daniel Carvajal and Isco.

With nine European Cups and 32 Spanish league titles to their name, Real are one of the most decorated clubs in the world and would never usually dream of occupying the same pitch as a team like Bournemouth, whose solitary honour of note is the third tier championship.

“The first match went well, our aim is to play good football, we have quality and we had a few good moments, some not so good but that is normal, it is the first match and I’m happy because the team worked hard,” said Ancelotti.

Real were reportedly paid around £1 million as an appearance fee, but Bournemouth’s chairman Eddie Mitchell and Russian co-owner Maxim Demin, likely to make a loss despite their ticket price hike, were determined to go ahead with the match in an attempt to raise the profile of one of the English game’s lesser lights.

Unsurprisingly given the quality in Madrid’s team, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth, promoted to the second-tier Championship last season, were quickly overwhelmed by the visitors.

Former Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain manager Ancelotti was taking charge of Real the first time since replacing Jose Mourinho and his reign never looked likely to get off to a losing start.

Cheered by all four sides of the ground throughout, Ronaldo, the world’s most expensive player at £80 million, was clearly enjoying himself as he showcased his repertoire of flicks and tricks.

YouTube credit: HalamadridViscabarc1

It was no surprise to see Ronaldo break the deadlock in the 22nd minute with a trademark dipping free-kick into the bottom corner, prompting ironic chants of “sign him up” from the Bournemouth fans, whose club’s record signing Matt Tubbs cost just £800,000.

Ronaldo grabbed his second in the 40th minute, rounding goalkeeper Darryl Flahavan and rolling the ball home.

On the stroke of half-time it was three when Germany’s Sami Khedira converted fellow countryman Ozil’s corner. And with the first attack of the second half, Arsenal transfer target Gonzalo Higuain made it four.

Angel Di Maria netted the fifth in the 69th minute after weaving his way through a sea of ‘Cherries’ players and with seven minutes to go Brazilian Casemiro started and finished a fine passing move to complete a memorable evening.

- © AFP, 2013

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