Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Real Madrid take shaky first step towards home final


Having spent 250 million euros on reinforcements and with the final due to be staged at their own Bernabeu stadium, winning the Champions League is seen almost as an obligation for Real Madrid this season, at least by much of the Spanish media.

Kicking off their campaign, perhaps appropriately, in one of Europe’s most expensive cities, Real showed flashes of what may be to come, both in terms of attacking inspiration and defensive vulnerability, as they beat Swiss champions FC Zurich 5-2.

Cristiano Ronaldo was his old self, firing in two free kicks at decisive stages of the game, performing a few trademark shimmies and stepovers and remonstrating with the referee every time he was tackled by an opponent.

There were tantalising glimpses of the potential offered by his parternship with Raul and former World Player of the Year Kaka, although Real often gave the impression that they are still finding their feet with so many newcomers.