Real Madrid 2, Atletico Madrid 1: Beckham's boots filled by capable new boy Sneijder

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The Independent Football

David who? Real Madrid began the post-Beckham era with a thrilling 2-1 derby win over Atletico Madrid and it was the England man's replacement, Wesley Sneijder, who stole the show, scored the winner, and had Real President Ramon Calderon taking a thinly-disguised post-match swipe at Beckham.

"We haven't seen 30-metre passes like that at the Bernabeu for years" said Calderon praising the debut performance of Sneijder and doing something of an injustice to Beckham's four-year stint in Spain.

Sneijder, signed for around £17m pounds in the summer, has taken the No 23 shirt at the Bernabeu and assumed the mantle of Real's new pass-master, and yesterday he won over his new fans by giving them victory over their local rivals.

The former Ajax man had impressed throughout his debut and when Real won a free-kick on the edge of Atletico's penalty area with 10 minutes left on the clock Guti, who had just hit the bar with a set-piece, rolled it to the Dutchman and his precise shot beat Leo Franco in the visitors' goal.

Real Madrid celebrated winning the title last season by sacking manager Fabio Capello and spending £80m on eight new players. The drastic overhaul looked to have backfired with a dismal pre-season and they were behind in this game inside the first minute when Sergio Aguero stole in at the back post to head in Mariano Pernia's corner.

But Real responded well and on the quarter-hour they were level when a rejuvenated Raul headed in Sergio Ramos' cross. The club captain later picked up his first booking in almost three years, for not retreating at a free-kick, but spoiling his extraordinary disciplinary record (booked just 20 times in 14 seasons) was not enough to wipe the smile off his face as Sneijder scored in the 79th minute to give Real a winning start to the season.