FOX Soccer Exclusive
CR7 shines as Real defeats Chelsea
MIAMI GARDENS, FLA.
INT'L CHAMPIONS CUP NEWS
Much of the buildup to the first Guinness International Champions Cup final surrounded the exchange of words between Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo in the days leading up to this affair.
Mourinho launched the first salvo with his jibes, but Ronaldo permitted his performance in this compelling final to provide the last word in Madrid's 3-1 victory at Sun Life Stadium on Wednesday night.
Ronaldo produced a man-of-the-match display – including a stunning free kick to serve as the eventual winner – to remind his former boss of his ample quality and start the Carlo Ancelotti era off with a championship in this surprisingly engaged fixture.
Mourinho praised Ronaldo in the wake of his two-goal performance, shrugged off the vibrant remonstrations from the Madrid players toward the Chelsea bench in the wake of their goals and walked back his comments about his former star from earlier in the week.
“The declarations against Cristiano are your movie, it's not my movie,” Mourinho said. “It's not my movie. I just told it to try to identify the person as the true Ronaldo in relation to the Brazilian one. If somebody asked me about Thomas Müller and Gerd Müller, for me, the real one is Gerd Muller because he's the first one. I'm not saying anything against the new kid at Bayern. That's your movie. Real Madrid was last week in the movie city. Maybe it's your movie, but it's not my problem.”
The interesting ties between the sides ensured the affair felt more like a genuine match than the final of a preseason tournament at the outset. Both teams invested enough into the proceedings to knock the ball around deftly and pose problems for the other side. The commitment produced an engaging first half with three goals and a handful of talking points.
It felt more like a genuine match than the final of a preseason tournament at the outset with both teams invested enough to knock the ball around deftly and pose problems for the other side. The commitment produced an engaging first half with three goals and a handful of talking points.
Madrid opened the match as the better of the two sides and secured its advantage inside the first 15 minutes. The move appeared just a bit too simple as Luka Modric split Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic with a simple diagonal through the line. Marcelo collected the feed and then tucked his effort inside the far post.
Ramires issued a cultured response three minutes later to draw Chelsea level. The buildup involved a scruffy sequence through the line, but the Brazilian international turned on the class as he surged past the defense and clipped his equalizer over the onrushing Iker Casillas.
Despite the Chelsea response, Madrid generally remained on top and probed for its second. Modric and Ronaldo both attempted to produce it without forcing Petr Cech to repel their efforts. The pressure eventually told, though, as Ronaldo mustered a sublime riposte to Mourinho's jibes from earlier in the week.
The situation set up perfectly for the Portuguese star after Ivanovic bundled him over 25 yards from goal. Ronaldo emerged from the ensuing scrum and stood over the ball. He then curled his effort over the wall and off the underside of the bar to spark a thunderous response from his admirers in the crowd and sum up a good half from Madrid.
“In the first half tonight, I think we played well,” Ancelotti said through a translator. “We controlled the ball and had a lot of possession. The idea and goal – and what Real should do – is play positive soccer. That's what we're trying to do.”
Chelsea improved as the second stanza opened and started to ask more questions of the Madrid defense. Eden Hazard flashed an effort wide in the early stages before Ivanovic forced Casillas to push away his glancing header from a corner kick.
Those improvements soon dissipated as Ronaldo settled the match with his second and Madrid's third just before the hour. Isco created a yard of space on the left and served an inviting ball into the penalty area. Ronaldo rushed through the static Chelsea defense and thumped his header past Cech.
Ronaldo's header and the ensuing procession of substitutions inevitably took some of the sting out of the match. Chelsea attempted to cobble together a second to inject some doubt into the proceedings, but the critical goal never arrived and Ronaldo once again stole the show by hugging a fan who impudently rushed the field.
Cries of “Ole, Ole” rang out through the lower bowl in the waning stages as Madrid moved the ball around in possession and saw out the game without a hitch. Cheers erupted at the final whistle as Madrid sent the bumper crowd home happy and secured the championship in some style.