Having returned from a difficult ten days on international duty with Portugal where Cristiano was far from his best, CR9 was handed a gentle return to league action with Real Madrid on Saturday night. Coach Manuel Pellegrini decided to leave Ronaldo on the bench until the 65th minute as the world most expensive football was flanked by Xabi Alonso and Ruud van Nistelrooy on the Los Merengues bench.
In the 65th minute Ronaldo eventually made his introduction as he replaced Karim Benzema with the visitors leading 1-nil.
Ronaldo wasted little time getting into the match, firing a free-kick straight at keeper Carlos Kameni seconds after coming on the pitch, before the Portuguese forward took his usual spot on on the left hand side with Raul asked to play through the middle.
All in all Ronaldo cut another frustrated figure until the final seconds of the match, when he executed a typically cool finish to seal Real’s win with their third of the night.
Individual match highlights of Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance against Espanyol can be seen here.