BARCELONA, Spain - Cristiano Ronaldo scored from long range to seal Real Madrid's 2-0 victory over the promoted Cordoba on Monday as the European champions made a winning start to the Spanish league.
Karim Benzema headed in the opening goal on the half-hour mark of a first half that Madrid dominated under the direction of new signing Toni Kroos.
But Cordoba surged forward in the second half, turning its first game in the topflight in 42 years into an evenly matched contest.
Ronaldo shook off an otherwise drab performance with a strike that only few can match when he blasted in a right-foot shot from well outside the area in the 90th.
Atletico Madrid begins its title defence later at Rayo Vallecano.
Barcelona beat Elche 3-0 on Sunday, with Lionel Messi scoring twice.