Too good, friendly or no. The gap in quality between Manchester City and Real Madrid, as the inaugural International Champions Cup curtain came down, was wider than the Yarra.
The 4-1 result has City leaving Australia three from four, but in the shadows of a far too potent Madrid team they should be wary of, should the sided meet again later in the season. Bacary Sagna and Aleks Kolorov flanked a central defensive pairing that had a night to remember and forget in equal measure.
With Vincent Kompany returned home and Eliaquim Mangala absent, Jason Denayer and Cameron Humphreys deputised at the back and were ran amock by Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and co. Make no mistake,; Denayer and Humphreys will go on to great things yet.
Fans, nor Manuel Pellegrini, should be concerned for the novice defensive partnership who at times look adept, but were simply exposed due to City’s failure to both protect the back unit or keep the ball.
The damage was done in the opening thirty minutes as Real stormed to a lead – Karim Benzema broke deadlock with an astute finish, but was afforded too much time and capitalised with Joe Hart sprawling and failing to keep the Frenchman out.
Fabian Delph suffered a hamstring injury 18 minutes in to his debut, after a tussle with a familiar foe in Luka Modric. His making way was sandwiched between two further Real goals, first Ronaldo; where Hart managed to get a hand to the Portuguese’ effort, but scrambled in vein to prevent the ball cross in the line; then Pepe, this time from a corner. The Real centre half found himself virtually unmarked an his bullet header left Hart no chance.
By the break, City had pulled one back – Raheem Sterling took the ball down over his shoulder, his second touch appearing to be with his arm, before Sergio Ramos handled the ball and the referee pointing to the spot. Yaya Toure obliged, but it was only ever going to be a consolation.
City emerged from the break looking slightly more energetic, but it soon waned. Where City rolled out Edin Dzeko to try and salvage something from the game, obut the Galacticos kept rolling off the bench for the ten time European Cup Winners.
The result was sealed when Isco, a former Manuel Pellegrini transfer target danced his way in to dangerous territory to set up Cheryshev who bundled the ball in.
As the dollar continues to fall, it wasn’t Sterling and co’s currency that strengthened with the Australian fans, but Real Madrid’ss. The tour, welcome as it has been for Mancunians Down Under demonstrates City’s global reach could yet stretch a little further. Nonetheless, it’s been a great advert for the sport, with sister club Melbourne hopefully capitalising next campaign.
City face Vietnam next before completing their pre-season preparations back home.