MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo picked up from where he left off last season with a superb hat-trick to inspire Real Madrid to a crushing 6-0 victory at Real Zaragoza in their opening La Liga match.
The prolific Portuguese, who scored 40 goals last season as Real finished second behind Barcelona, was on song again, but gave the credit for the win to a team effort.
"The team wanted to play well and get off to a strong start and we managed that scoring six goals at a difficult venue," he said. "You have to congratulate the team for the win. I was able to score three goals thanks to my teammates. I help this team and this team helps me."
Real coach Jose Mourinho had earlier warned that the opening weekend of fixtures often springs surprises but the game went according to plan for him. Mourinho though admitted that his opponents did not enjoy the best of days.
"I'm not going to hide from the fact that Zaragoza coach Javier Aguirre had problems and couldn't count on important players," he said. "At 2-0 the game was over and so it depended on whether Real played together or individually and the players chose the first option."
Meanwhile, a double from Alvaro Negredo saw Sevilla win 2-1 against Malaga. Earlier, Real Mallorca scraped a 1-0 win over Espanyol. Luis Garcia watched his side draw 1-1 against his former club Levante.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2011.