Real Madrid kicked off their 2023-24 season in style, securing a 2-0 victory away from home against Athletic Club on Saturday night.
Los Blancos picked up all three points with goals from Rodrygo and debutant Jude Bellingham effectively repelling Athletic’s tentative efforts.
However, one downside to the victory was the ACL injury picked up by defender Éder Militão, who was forced off after an awkward fall early in the second half.
Following a shaky start, Madrid gradually gained momentum in the game and ultimately went ahead in the 28th minute courtesy of a goal from Rodrygo. The Brazilian combined with Dani Carvajal on the right flank, showcasing a moment of skill and balance to shoot past a helpless Unai Simón.
With Athletic Club struggling to mount meaningful attacks, Madrid extended their lead with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
A corner found its way to Bellingham in the penalty area and although the English midfielder’s strike wasn’t perfectly clean, the ball took enough of a bounce to elude the outstretched Unai Simón and find the back of the net.
Bellingham was excellent on his debut, operating behind Rodrygo and Vinícius in attack, but covering so much ground and showing that he well and truly belongs at this level.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side will hope to make it back-to-back away victories when they face Almería next Saturday.
Jake Staniland | GSFN