Finally, flowers bloomed at Santiago Bernabeu after more than a year. The Los Blancos donned the white shirt with pride at the newly constructed home of Royal Whites. The feeling was amazing to witness the Men in Whites coming out of the dugout at the Bernabeu, a venue, which was missed by the players, officials and fans for a long time. The waiting was over and Real Madrid made the return a memorable one.

A crowd of almost 23,000 was treated to a dramatic game of football and seven goals, with the home fans able to leave content, having ultimately witnessed a thrashing after it had looked like Celta Vigo might cause an upset, leading twice in the first half.

Real Madrid paid a fitting tribute to former president Lorenzo Sanz, along with all the other club members and former players who have passed away during the pandemic. The ground was charged with emotion and his family could be seen to appreciate the gesture.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti opted for youngster Miguel Gutierrez at left-back, meanwhile in attack both Vinicius and Eden Hazard were included with Benzema.

The first goal in the revamped Bernabeu would go to Celta, as Madrid made a mess of things in the backs with Miguel, Casemiro and Nacho all failing to clear danger and Santi Mina was more than happy to take advantage and finish past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a 1-0 lead.

Madrid nearly answered immediately on a flicked-on header from Vinicius, but Celta goalkeeper Dituro’s reaction save kept the Galicians ahead. The home side continued to mount the pressure, but they were still looking flimsy at the back and another glaring error almost yielded a second Celta goal, with a late Nacho intervention sparing their blushes.

The equalizer would come though midway through the half, with Casemiro floating a pass to Fede Valverde, who cut the ball back for Benzema and the Frenchman steered the bouncing ball in to make it 1-1.

Celta were unfazed and they struck back to regain the lead, 2-1, on a break in which Hugo Mallo slipped a pass into Franco Cervi, who hit the post on a back-heel flick but was there to score the rebound.

It took fewer than 45 seconds for Madrid to respond after the re-start, with Benzema guiding a perfect header back across goal and into the net off a cross from Miguel to make it 2-2.

Benzema then got to play the role of playmaker in setting up Vinicius for the go-ahead goal, 3-2, with a filtered pass into the charging Brazilian, who was played onside by Murillo, allowing for a free run at goal and a finish.

Carlo Ancelotti seems to have turned Vinicius into a different player.

The skill, pace and ability were always there, but he has taken a leap, becoming more decisive, more effective and more purposeful. He’s gone from an expensive prospect to looking like he could be not only the top player on this team but a poster boy for La Liga.

Playing like this, there’s no stopping him and it’s exciting to watch a star being born. There were shades of his compatriot Ronaldo in his goal to give Los Blancos the lead.

Ancelotti made his first changes after the hour mark, as Hazard made way for debutant Camavinga, but it was Vinicius who was threatening again after a Celta error and only a kick-save from Dituro avoided Madrid’s fourth.

Even though he’s closer to 40 than 30, Modric still has no equal in midfield. Pulling the strings in the middle, he was huge in Madrid’s comeback. It was his parried shot that allowed Camavinga to score, but the Croatian deserved a goal for his display.

Camavinga could not have asked for a better start to his Madrid career – Real Madrid have signed a promising young talent.

Celta tried to get back into it and it was all there for Nolito to pull a goal back, but his attempted chip in front of the goal went awry.

The next Madrid switch saw Modric make way for Marco Asensio, but the night belonged to Benzema and Vinicius, the latter earning a late penalty, which was converted by Benzema to complete the 5-2 scoreline.

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A vintage display by the Los Blancos who are looking a much-improved side till now.

 

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