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Ronaldo fails to sparkle on Real Madrid home debut

CRISTIANO Ronaldo made a disappointingly low-key home debut for Real Madrid against Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad in their Peace Cup match at the Bernabeu yesterday.

Around 80,000 had packed the stadium for the Portuguese winger's glitzy presentation this month but the massive arena in the Spanish capital was only about a third full as Real were held to a 1-1 draw.

Ronaldo, who cost Real a world-record 93 million euros (US$132 million), had one decent effort on goal in the first half but was generally ineffective before being replaced by Arjen Robben with around 25 minutes left.

Raul opened the scoring early in the second half when he picked up a pass from Karim Benzema with his back to goal, turned his marker and fired a low shot into the net.

Hecham Aboucharoan equalised for Al Ittihad in the 64th minute when he directed a superb header past Jerzy Dudek into the top left corner of the Real goal.

New signing Esteban Granero crashed a long-range effort against the bar on his home debut for Real and the visitors missed two clear chances for a winner in the closing stages.

Real's next match in the Peace Cup, which includes Italian side Juventus, France's Olympique Lyon and England's Aston Villa, is against Ecuador's Liga de Quito on Tuesday.


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