Real Madrid's Champions League kicked off with a 1-0 away win against Dynamo Zagreb. The visitors pressed los blancos, but a spectacular strike by Di Maria followed by some excellent buildup play gave Real Madrid the three points they needed as well as a winning start to the new campaign.
However, all wasn't positive as Marcelo was (rightfully) sent off because of two yellows--one for a harsh tackle and the other for diving. Also, Cristiano Ronaldo was jeered by the crowds in Maksimir and received a bloody ankle, which required stitches after the final whistle was blown.
Because Coach Jose Mourinho is serving out a ban for misconduct, Assistant Coach Aitor Karanka dealt with the press after the match:
"Those who thought it would be an easy game were wrong, Karanka said. "Dynamo were very motivated tonight. There are surprises in every venue and it's never easy to win. We took three points from a complicated venue. They have a great crowd that boosted their confidence."
"We must keep this up, growing and working hard to do a good job. It's easier to work when you earn positive results. If we keep this up we'll reap rewards...It's worrying to see Marcelo was sent off when Cristiano Ronaldo is receiving stitches in the dressing room. All players should be equally protected."
Ronaldo spoke about the treatment he received from the referee:
"It's important to have a good start in the Champions League," Ronaldo said. "We are very happy with three points we took, but I'm not so satisfied with the refereeing. I hope we never have this referee again.
People talk of fair-play, of protecting good players, but I never get any of that. I don't understand a thing. I'm sad because I hear referees saying they will protect skilful players, but while some are untouchable it seems I can be mauled."
(Emphasis is mine).
Hopefully, Cristiano's injury is nothing serious and he will get well soon.
Apparently, CR7 also addressed the media in another interview addressing the jeers he received from the crowd. Mind you, I'm not sure how much Ronaldo's words were twisted, as this quote was published in Marca. His explanation slammed the crowd.
"It's surely because I'm good-looking, rich and a great footballer," Ronaldo said. "They're jealous of me. I don't have any other explanation."
As always, you can see a full list of post match interviews here.
On a happier note, last night San Iker (who made a glorious save against Zagreb) reached Jose Antonio Camacho's record of 577 games with Real Madrid. Casillas has now matched Camacho by becoming the sixth Real Madrid footballer with the most appearances. Hopefully, he will star in many more matches to come.
Before we leave, here's something to think about: during last night's open thread here on Managing Madrid, Cine Galactico king Payam Fakhraie said that "their style reminds me of RM, we are playing ourselves," and I agree. The fast-paced attacking and strong pressure is a characteristic of Madrid when they are matched against difficult teams, most notably Barcelona. And as you may have read in other places or seen in the match, Zagreb were rough and received some light criticism for some tough challenges--which should have resulted in fouls and cards--that were designed to interrupt Real's game. So are we hypocritical when we say Zagreb should have been punished, yet when we use a comparable tactic, similar challenges do not merit yellow or red cards??
Tell us what you think below.