Club Focus – Real Madrid – Ronaldo leads Madrid past Milan while Gento backs Canales for future success

One minute of madness, but divine quality by Real Madrid’s Portuguese star-man Cristiano Ronaldo helped Los Blancos to a commanding 2-0 Champions League victory over AC Milan on Tuesday evening.

The Whites’ No 7’s accurate 13th minute free kick which evaded a fractured Rossoneri wall on its way to finding the bottom corner was supplemented with a parading run just moments later, setting German playmaker Mesut Ozil with the opportunity to double the home side’s advantage, which he did, albeit aided by a deflection.

Jose Mourinho’s seamless start as Los Blancos Coach, yielding a 10 game unbeaten sequence on top of a superb defensive rearguard has meant the management maestro is beginning to create a winning aura few can take valid swipes at. Camaraderie, togetherness and a commitment to play for a Coach, held in valued esteem, unlike his predecessors, has been the immediate formula to success. Against a San Siro outfit on Tuesday evening coated in experience, but not in youth, Real Madrid transferred their La Liga form onto the European stage with aplomb, an attribute which has all too easily passed them by in much of the last decade.

Saturday’s league showdown against Racing de Santander will test Madrid’s ability to slot back into the regular vigour of La Liga. Clinical finishing has not necessarily been evident this term – however, it has not needed to be with Madrid’s stern defensive organisation. A subtle blend of international skill, settled Spanish quality and genuine world class talent means it would be difficult to dismiss Madrid’s rise to prominence again as just early season promise.

One Real Madrid summer signing, 19-year-old Sergio Canales has been tipped to become the Santiago Bernabeu’s new Paco Gento – the club’s legendary wing wizard, who won six European Cups as a Madrid player – and looks primed for a bright future at the club. Canales, the former Racing player, has only played twice for Mourinho’s men thus far and is being slowly immersed into the star studded squad. Already known for his skilful awareness and distinctive youthful promise, Gento describes the playmaker as “a great, skilful and intelligent player.” The 77-year-old legend continued: “He knows he’s arrived at a team with fabulous history and that he has to win titles with it. He must be humble, do his best and get along with his team-mates. That’s all I can say.

Gento continued: “The secret is to be excited and to suffer much as well. I also got here when I was 19 years old and suffered. I thought they would send me to Osasuna because I wasn’t doing too well, but I pulled through thanks to constancy and my capacity to learn from Di Stefano and players who were older than me. That’s the advantage of playing with charismatic and wise men. An example of that today could be Cristiano Ronaldo, you learn from the outset too when you are young. Canales has proven he is an intelligent player with a bright future ahead of him.”

Held in high esteem, it looks likely Canales may have to bide his time a little longer yet to become a fixture in Mourinho’s plans. But backing from a Madrid player enshrined in the inner sanctum of Bernabeu history means he has time on his side.

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