Real Madrid began their quest for their 10th Champions League win with an impressive win over Galatasaray in Instanbul, but the main talking point was the injury to Iker Casillas, who came off just 15 minutes into his first competitive game for Los Blancos in nine months.
The World Cup winner, and Los Blancos captain, has played second fiddle to Diego Lopez since January, with Carlo Ancelotti following Jose Mourinho in preferring the former Villarreal keeper between the sticks.
Earlier this week the Italian confirmed Casillas would be the number one for the Champions League and Copa del Rey, but the 31-year-old lasted just 15 minutes at the Ali Sami Yen stadium. The keeper sustained an injury to his ribs after an innocuous elbow by team mate Sergio Ramos. After receiving treatment on the field, the decision was taken to replace him.
Los Blancos had started the game on the back foot, with former Real winger Wesley Sneijder and Ivorian forward Didier Drogba providing a threat for the home side. But summer signing Isco enhanced his repuation as one of Europe’s finest young talents with a goal on the half hour mark to put the visitors ahead. Controlling a long ball, he held off a challenge, raced into the area and hit a low shot past the keeper the went in off the post.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men extended their lead after the break when French striker Karim Benzema continued his good form in front of goal, finishing off neat play by Angel di Maria. The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Galatasaray, usually so formidable at home, and Real took full advantage of the situation.
Cristiano Ronaldo, fresh from signing a 17 million euro a year deal, proved his continued value by scored his 204th and 205th goal for Real Madrid in the space of three minutes to give Madrid an unassailable lead and secure the three points, before Benzema grabbed his second of the night with seven minutes remaining. Umut Bulut netted a consolation for the home side, but it was too little, too late, before Ronaldo finished the scoring but completing his hat trick in the final minute.
On a sidenote, Gareth Bale continued his introduction to the team, making his Champions League debut for Real, coming off the bench on the hour mark in place of Isco.