Real Madrid CF's bid to earn a tenth European Champion Clubs' Cup got off to a stunning start as a sublime team performance produced a comfortable 4-2 win against Olympique de Marseille.
Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo - twice - and Luis Figo were all among the goals as the Spanish side began their latest UEFA Champions League campaign with a win in Group F. Just as crucial, however, were Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham in midfield, as the old and new 'galacticos' produced some electric play.
Madrid, fresh from a 7-2 weekend win against Real Valladolid, were forced to pair Raúl Bravo and Francisco Pavón in defence with Iván Helguera and Oscar Miñambres injured, although Esteban Cambiasso passed a late fitness test on his ankle to partner Beckham in the centre of midfield. Marseille striker Didier Drogba also overcame an ankle injury to partner Ahmed Hossam 'Mido'.
From the start, Madrid were in expansive mood, with full-backs Michel Salgado and Roberto Carlos pushing forward. The first effort was at the other end, though, as Mido's angled shot forced Iker Casillas to save. Ronaldo went close soon after, but, against the run of play, the visitors went ahead on 26 minutes.
The Madrid defence lost the ball and after Mido's shot was blocked by Raúl Bravo, Drogba stole in to score. However, this merely served to wake Madrid up, and while they scored twice in the next eight minutes it could have been four or five.
Roberto Carlos gave a warning of what was to come when he shot over from the corner of the box, before levelling the score shortly afterwards as he struck Beckham's cross into the ground and over Marseille goalkeeper Vedran Runje. Beckham then went close himself, but Madrid were soon ahead.
Ronaldo makes his mark
Twice with the score at 1-1 Runje denied Ronaldo, but the Brazilian was to have his goal, as Beckham's clever chip set Salgado away. The Madrid right-back cut in from the by-line before crossing for the striker to step back and shoot in.
Marseille made it to half-time without conceding another, but after the break the continued pressure was eventually bound to tell. Mido did have a couple of chances for Marseille, but Madrid's victory was soon secure. On 57 minutes, Zidane showed his skills as he latched on to Roberto Carlos's ball from defence, dribbled through the Marseille midfield and laid off to Ronaldo, who scored with a typically emphatic first-time effort.
It was soon 4-1 as Roberto Carlos burst into the box and, with only Runje to beat, was brought down by the goalkeeper, who earned himself a booking. Figo put the penalty away, and although the kick had to be retaken, the Portuguese winger had no trouble at the second attempt.
The home side were now turning on the skill with the pressure off. With nine minutes left, though, Marseille claimed a consolation as Daniel Van Buyten headed a corner on to the post then off Roberto Carlos into the net.