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UEFA

Ronaldo reigns supreme as Madrid win Super Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo upstaged new team-mates Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez and homecoming hero Gareth Bale as Real Madrid beat Sevilla 2-0 in Cardiff on Tuesday to win the UEFA Super Cup.

Ronaldo reigns supreme as Madrid win Super Cup
Ronaldo's goals helped Real Madrid claim victory in the all-Spanish UEFA Super Cup final. Photo: Carl Court/AFP

World Cup stars Kroos and Rodriguez were making their Madrid debuts, while Bale was returning to his hometown, but it was Ronaldo, characteristically, who hogged the spotlight with a brace in the Welsh capital.

The Portugal captain claimed a 30th-minute opener from Bale's cross and then slammed home a second goal shortly after half-time to earn the European champions what could be the first of six trophies this season.

While €80-million ($108 million) new recruit Rodriguez had a modest debut, Madrid's new-look attack — which cost roughly 310 million euros to assemble — showed ominous flashes of quality.

Victory gave Madrid only their second Super Cup, after a maiden triumph in 2002, and enabled Carlo Ancelotti's side to avenge a costly 2-1 loss at the hands of Europa League winners Sevilla in La Liga last season.

While Ancelotti named both Kroos and Rodriguez in his starting XI, Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno was omitted from his side's match-day squad amid reports he is on the verge of joining Liverpool.

With Kroos sitting in front of the back four and Rodriguez to his left in a 4-3-3 shape, Madrid quickly assumed control of the game at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Bale and then Ronaldo, with a free-kick, saw efforts deflected narrowly off-target, before Bale's outside-of-the-foot volley from a Rodriguez left-wing cross was blocked by a defender.

A misplaced pass by Daniel Carvajal gave Sevilla winger Vitolo a chance to shoot at goal, obliging Iker Casillas to save at his near post, but Madrid were soon back on the front foot.

After Federico Fazio headed a deflected cross from Fabio Coentrao off his own line and Sevilla goalkeeper Beto blocked sharply from Ronaldo, Madrid's lavishly assembled forward line clicked into gear for what their fans hope will be the first goal of many.

When a Sevilla attack broke down, Ronaldo flashed a pass inside to Rodriguez, who immediately sprayed the ball wide to Bale on the left flank.

The Cardiff-born Welshman took a touch before sending a fine, searching cross towards the back post, where Ronaldo powered in to volley home.

Moments later, a shanked clearance from Rodriguez meant that Casillas had to save from Daniel Carrico, but Madrid were good value for their half-time lead.

Ronaldo doubled his side's lead, and his personal tally, four minutes into the second period, gathering a pass from Karim Benzema and walloping a left-foot shot past international colleague Beto.

Beto prevented Madrid from extending their lead by clawing away a shot from Benzema and then brilliantly blocking a crisp strike by Colombia star Rodriguez, who made way for Isco with 18 minutes to play.

Beto also produced a late flying save to thwart Bale, who was unable to crown his return to Cardiff with a goal, but who has now won three titles in his first 12 months at Madrid.

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OFFBEAT

Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.

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