East Rutherford (US): Real Madrid continued life without former star and five-time Ballon DOr winner Cristiano Ronaldo with a pre-season International Champions Cup win over Serie A side AS Roma.
With the Portuguese superstar moving to Juve, many in the football world were left wondering if their recent hegemony in the Champions League, which has seen them win the tournament a record three times in a row, would finally come to an end, reports EFE news agency.
Madrid has shown ominous signs during pre-season that his departure will not have a detrimental effect on their fortunes.
Two of his potential successors as Real’s talismen combined in the opening two minutes on Tuesday, as Gareth Bale bent a wonderful ball over the top of the Italian defense for the Marco Asensio who broke the offside trap and dispatched a cool finish past Olsen in the Roma goal on Tuesday.
Bale then turned goal scorer in the 15th minute as he ran clear of the Roma defence, before cutting inside on his left foot to slot into the bottom corner.
With the game all but tied up, Real made a raft of changes to give their fringe players a run out in the second half, with most of their main stars coming off.
Roma managed to peg one goal back late on, as Kevin Strootman smashed in at the back post after Real had failed to clear a long throw-in.
After the match, Real coach Julen Lopetegui said he hoped Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who has struggled to hold down a regular starting place since his arrival at the Bernabeu, would stay in Madrid.
“It’s true that Mateo has expressed his desire to leave. I have also expressed my desire that he stays. He’s an important player for us”, Lopetegui said.
The former Spain coach also praised his goalkeeper Keylor Navas, whose future has been the subject of speculation following rumours that Real are looking to bring in Belgium number 1 Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea. (IANS)