Internazionale fans yesterday were more ecstatic about another pre-season South American signing, Alvaro Recoba, than Ronaldo as the Uruguayan substitute struck two stunning goals from 30 yards in the space of 10 minutes to give Inter a 2-1 win against Brescia on the opening day of Serie A.
There were even more explosive happenings at the Bernabeu where, after the former Middlesbrough midfielder had given his side a 16th-minute lead, the Dutchman Clarence Seedorf equalised with a massive 45-yard swerving drive. The goal extended Real's unbeaten sequence against Atletico to 12 league games.
Like Inter, who had come from behind at San Siro, Juventus, the champions, also left it late, beating newly promoted Lecce with goals from Filippo Inzaghi and Antonio Conte. Meanwhile Milan let slip a first-half lead to draw 1-1 at Piacenza.
Parma, who qualified for the Champions' League last week, had an impressive 2-0 win at Bari with goals by Pietro Strada and Fabio Cannavaro. Roberto Mancini, who left Sampdoria in the summer after 12 years with the club, kicked off his Lazio career with the opening goal in a 2-0 win against Napoli. Bologna's new boy Roberto Baggio was less successful despite also scoring, with a late penalty, in the 4-2 defeat at Atalanta.
Relief among Fiorentina fans that Gabriel Batistuta had decided against a summer move was almost tangible as the Argentine opened his account with a hat-trick at Udinese that included an injury-time winner.
The former Milan striker Marco Simone scored two goals as Paris St-Germain trounced Rennes 4-1 at Parc des Princes to stay in touch with the French league leaders Metz, who won 2-1 away against the champions, Monaco. Metz have now won five out of five, Monaco one out of five.
Bayern Munich underlined their recovery after a shaky start to the German Bundesliga by scoring their third successive win, beating Hansa Rostock 3-1 to go second. Newly promoted Kaiserslautern stayed top with a 3-1 win at Bochum.
Schalke leapt from 11th to third place with a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach, thanks to a double by Johan de Kock. A crowd of 50,000 saw a goalless draw between Stuttgart and the European champions, Borussia Dortmund.
Anderlecht were clearly missing Enzo Scifo, their match winner against Poltava of Ukraine in last week's Uefa Cup tie, as they went down 2-0 to Genk. Scifo was suspended as Genk's win lifted them back to the top of the Belgian league.