Real Madrid ‘can’t start so softly’, warns Cristiano Ronaldo after Sporting Lisbon escape

Cristiano Ronaldo warned Real Madrid will be punished if they don't improve on their performance in an edgy 2-1 win over Sporting Lisbon to start their Uefa Champions League defence.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a free-kick to equalise against Sporting Lisbon as Real Madrid left it late to win. Daniel Ochoa de Olza / AP Photo
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a free-kick to equalise against Sporting Lisbon as Real Madrid left it late to win. Daniel Ochoa de Olza / AP Photo

Cristiano Ronaldo warned Real Madrid will be punished if they do not improve on their performance in an edgy 2-1 win over Sporting Lisbon to start their Uefa Champions League defence.

Alvaro Morata headed home the winner four minutes into stoppage time at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday after an 89th minute Ronaldo free-kick had cancelled out Bruno Cesar’s opener for Sporting.

“It is a warning that in the coming games we can’t start so softly because if we do they can make a fool of us,” Ronaldo told BeIN Sports.

Ronaldo, 31, refused to celebrate his goal against the side where he began his career and he raised his hands almost apologetically towards the thousands of Sporting fans who made the trip to Madrid and gave him a rousing reception before kick-off.

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“It was an important goal. The game was almost over, there was a minute to go, but we were playing against a team that didn’t surprise me,” Ronaldo said.

“They wanted to play well and make life difficult for us.

“For me it is a privilege to know that the people still have this love for me.

“At the moment I am happy at Real Madrid and as I have said I want to finish my career here because it is the club that is in my heart right now.”

Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane praised his side’s effort and belief to fight their way back into the match despite being surprisingly outplayed for the opening hour.

“We are Real Madrid so every game is going to be difficult because teams want to come here and cause us problems,” he said.

“We never gave up. The effort was tremendous.

“We are not going to win every game 5-0. Today we had to suffer, but we got the three points.”

Zidane had a huge role to play in Madrid’s fightback as he took the brave decision to sacrifice Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos when trailing for Lucas Vazquez, Morata and James Rodriguez respectively. and it was from a Rodriguez cross that Morata rose highest to power home the winner with the last action of the game.

“I have a lot of players that can make the difference,” Zidane said.

“Not all coaches have the same resources, so I am lucky.”

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Published: September 15, 2016 04:00 AM

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