Real Madrid vs. AC Milan: Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Put on Big Show in Big Apple
The Bronx, New York—The Madridistas poured out into the New York night by the thousands, bursting into the five boroughs with the kind of intoxicating bravado only victory can bring.
First, though, had come the dual tasks of turning Madrid into the sixth borough and making Cristiano Ronaldo the mayor of the Big Apple for a night.
No problem for their team.
Real Madrid routed AC Milan on Wednesday night here at Yankee Stadium in front of a packed house of 49,474. It wasn't a home game, and it wasn't even part of either team's regular season, but anyone watching couldn't help but have drawn a few conclusions anyway.
Preseason or not, Real came to play.
Exhibition or not, the crowd wanted a show.
Meaningless match or not, Cristiano Ronaldo gave it to them.
Not that he was alone, and not that Real made all the headlines.
From AC Milan, we learned that Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be missed...considerably. In the absence of Ibra, the offense sputtered (aside from a stunning first-half team goal), and in the absence of Silva, the defense simply couldn't keep up with Real's speed, cleverness and creativity.
On those scores, CR7 was the grand conductor. But he had plenty of company.
Angel Di Maria was insatiable in the first half as Real raced to an early lead. He had his reward in the 24th minute, when a left-footed volley beat Christian Abbiati and sent the pro-Real crowd into raptures.
For a few heady moments, cries of "Hala, Madrid" swept around the venerable baseball park. It was a striking departure for a sanctuary more accustomed to venerating saints going by the names of Ruth, Mantle and Gehrig.
Milan made their own buzz nine minutes later, when Robinho finished off a flowing move with a deft final touch inside the Real box. Iker Casillas was easily beaten, and the teams went into the break level.
That wasn't the case for long, thanks to Ronaldo.
The Portuguese superstar kicked the preseason party into gear four minutes into the second half, rocketing home a first-time shot with his left foot. Abbiati's halftime replacement, Marco Amelia, didn't even move, nor should he have. Ronaldo's shot was perfect, both in power and in placement.
He wasn't done. In the 66th minute, Gonzalo Higuain flashed down the right sideline and passed to Kaká, who picked out a streaking and unmarked Ronaldo on the edge of the Milan box.
Ronaldo made the rest look easy, finishing coolly again past Amelia, who must have wondered what he'd gotten himself into. Meanwhile, the light bulbs flashed and the crowd produced its most deafening roar of the night.
The next best ovation came 14 minutes later, when Ronaldo finally left the pitch.
Goals from Sergio Ramos and Jose Maria Callejon came after that, and crowd-second-favorite Kaká chipped in with three outstanding assists. But all that was only the undercard.
Ronaldo had already left the building, and with him, hordes of his admirers.
Not that anyone could complain. It was a preseason match, and Ronaldo didn't have to play 80 minutes. He did, though, and he managed to put on a midseason-like show, equal parts brilliance and panache, for his grateful public.
The same was true for Real, a club that's coming off a paradoxically strange season. For all the success Real enjoyed and all the records Jose Mourinho's men broke while ending Barcelona's La Liga run last term, they didn't capture the one prize they wanted most.
Wednesday's match was only a friendly, and Milan's depleted roster was only a shell compared to last season. But under the bright lights in America's greatest metropolis, Ronaldo and Real put on a New York show that few from the sellout Yankee Stadium crowd will ever forget.
And if they keep this up, Jose, Ronaldo and the rest might finally realize that Champions League dream.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?