Sub Ronaldo Sees Barcelona Keep their 1-0 Lead Against Real Madrid In El Clasico
It started on a good tone for Real Madrid but ended in disappointment. On Sunday evening, Los Blancos travelled to Catalonia to face La Ligaâ€™s defending champions Barcelona for El Clasico.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who was reportedly unfit, started the match alongside striker Gonzalo Higuain and midfielders Kaka and Xabi Alonso.
The former Manchester United playmaker was out to please the thousands of Real Madrid fans who wanted to watch the first ever Clasico with the presence of the Portuguese superstar.
Cristiano Ronaldo played brilliantly throughout the game despite being closely mark by Barcelonaâ€™s experienced defense.
The 24-year-old broke the barrier of pain to showcase his talent and was involved in some decisive moments in the first half.
In the early minutes of the match, the fleet-footed winger eased past Carlos Puyol before crossing low to Marcelo. Miserably, the young Brazilian defender could only drive the ball into the stands.
Five minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo had the opportunity to fancy his free-kick potential but his ball hit Sergio Busquet who was in the Barcelona wall.
At a point, he was clean through on goal after Kakaâ€™s flick had played him right. Unfortunately for Ronaldo, Victor Valdesâ€™ tremendous talent saw his low shot tipped away.
Later on, it was Cristiano Ronaldo who played Kaka with a nice back heel but the Brazilian star was again denied by one of the heroes of the night, Victor Valdes.
At the other of the field on the 51st minute, substitute Zlatan Ibrahimovic responded well by breaking the deadlock with a tap-in goal thanks to Daniel Alvesâ€™ cross.
From there, Real Madrid could not recover. They kept pressing on in search of an equalizer but never found it although some good opportunities went away begging.
Cristiano Ronaldoâ€™s last chance for a contribution came on 65th minute when his header from a cross flew over the bar. A minute later, he came off to make way for Karim Benzema. The young French star subsequently had a chance on his own to get a goal for Real Madrid from five yards out but he somehow failed to do so.
Watching from the sidelines, Cristiano Ronaldo could see Real Madrid growing in anxiety and despair as they couldnâ€™t score and take advantage of Barcelonaâ€™s ten-man factor (after Sergio Busquet saw red for a second bookable offense on 60 minutes).
As the match was coming to a close, Los Blancosâ€™ showed more weaknesses than strengths to handle the pressure as midfielder Lassana Diarra was also flashed a second yellow card and thus a red one.
El Clasico ended with both Barcelona and Real Madrid being with ten men on the field of play. However, the happiest people were clearly the hosts as Zlatan Ibrahimovicâ€™s goal proved to make the perfect difference.
So Cristiano Ronaldoâ€™s first El Clasico was not the best that he could have experienced â€“ not only because Real Madrid lost but also because he couldnâ€™t play his desired game (to last for the full 90 minutes and to feel 100% fit).
Still, the Portuguese star displayed a fine performance which should have been worthy of something better than a 1-0 defeat for his side.
Real Madrid are now two points behind Barcelona who have subsequently occupied the top spot in the Spanish Primera Liga.