James Rodriguez scored a stunning late free-kick in his first appearance under Rafael Benitez as Real Madrid eased to a 3-0 victory over Inter in their first International Champions Cup game in China.
Jese Rodriguez put Real in front at half-time and Raphael Varane added a second goal after the break as the Spanish giants followed up winning the Australia version of the International Champions Cup with an impressive display in Guangzhou.
Colombia forward James, who started his pre-season later after playing in the Copa America, then saved the best for last as he struck with a sublime free-kick against Benitez’s former club two minutes from time at the Tianhe Stadium.
Inter had their chances and Roberto Mancini will be hoping the imminent signing of Stevan Jovetic from Manchester City will give them a cutting edge after failing to score in defeats against Bayern Munich, city rivals Milan and now Real in China.
Sergio Ramos captained Real amid reports he is set to sign a new contract to end talk of a move to Manchester United and there was a first start for new signing Danilo.
Inter were indebted to Samir Handanovic for keeping them on level terms when he produced a fine save to keep out a long-range Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick after 14 minutes.
A brilliant double save from Handanovic thwarted Jese and Isco, but the Inter goalkeeper was unable to prevent the Spanish giants from taking the lead 29 minutes in.
Jese was not to be denied on this occasion, as he controlled a precise Marcelo pass with his right foot and came inside Jeison Murillo before slotting inside the near post with his left.
Inter responded and Hernanes almost caught Keylor Navas out just before half-time, but the Real keeper just got across to keep out the Brazilian playmaker’s well executed free-kick.
Denis Cheryshev was one of five Real substitutes to be introduced at the break, with Ronaldo and Ramos among the players to be withdrawn, and the Russian midfielder fired just over the crossbar three minutes after coming on.
It was another substitute, Varane, who increased Real’s lead 11 minutes into the second half as he converted a cross from Lucas Vazquez – who also came on at the break – with a clinical finish from six yards out.
James was introduced 12 minutes from time to a warm ovation and was denied by Handanovic with one free-kick before giving the Inter keeper no chance with a thumping long-range strike to round off a fine display from Benitez’s men.
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