Real Madrid demonstrated their potential to enjoy life after Cristiano Ronaldo by thumping his new team Juventus 3-1 in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.
Ronaldo brought a glittering nine-year stay at the Santiago Bernabeu to a close when he sealed a big-money transfer to the Serie A title-holders in July.
The 33-year-old was not involved in the pre-season exhibition match at FedEx Field, as he recovers from his exertions with Portugal at the World Cup.
While they are still adjusting to the concept of being without the imperious five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Madrid capitalised on his absence from the Bianconeri line-up by brushing aside Massimiliano Allegri’s men in the United States.
A Dani Carvajal own-goal had given La Signora the lead, but Gareth Bale’s blistering equaliser saw the teams go in level at the break.
And the Liga giants ran rampant in the second half, Brazilian teenager Vinicius Junior impressing off the bench as fellow substitute Marco Asensio struck twice to seal a comfortable win.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) August 4, 2018
The next opportunity for Julen Lopetegui’s team to impress will also come against Italian opposition, with a clash against Roma set to take place in New Jersey on Wednesday.
Despite naming a strong starting XI featuring Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema, Madrid fell behind in the 12th minute when Carvajal turned Joao Cancelo’s cross from the left past the outstretched Keylor Navas and into his own net.
Lopetegui’s side responded well to going behind by controlling possession, but they were restricted to a Bale effort from range in the 24th minute.
Five minutes later, Isco cut inside from left and fired a warning shot wide of Wojciech Szczesny’s near post.
The pressure continued to mount, and it told in the 39th minute, Bale picking up a loose ball outside the Juventus area, taking a touch and then firing an eye-catching strike into the back of the net.
Los Blancos came close to taking the lead with three minutes remaining in the half, young left-back Sergio Reguilon blasting a fierce drive across Szczesny and narrowly wide following a rapid Madrid counter-attack.
Both coaches made changes at half-time, and the new arrivals were quickly involved in the action, albeit in contrasting fashion.
Nicolo Fagioli, on for Sami Khedira, gave the ball away inside the Juve half and two Madrid substitutes pounced.
Asensio released Vinicius Junior down the left and the Brazilian teenager teed up his team-mate with a clever square ball, Asesnio firing past Szczesny at close range to earn Madrid the lead.
The rampant Vinicius Junior continued to torment Juve and Madrid duly made it 3-1 in the 56th minute, Asensio holding off Claudio Marchisio and sliding a finish beneath Szczesny, who should have done better.
The Spanish giants could have netted their fourth following another lightning break just before the hour mark, Mattia De Sciglio managing to snuff out the danger after Vinicius Junior took a touch when he should have shot.
And while they were unable to add to the scoreline, Madrid continued to dominate throughout the closing exchanges, in a performance that will afford them plenty of confidence ahead of the new season.