Robben relieved to finally make Real impact at the Bernabeu

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The Independent Online

The former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben spoke of his delight yesterday after finally being able to make his Real Madrid debut during the Champions League game against Werder Bremen at the Bernabeu.

Robben, who had sat out Real's opening three La Liga games as he worked on his fitness, was given a standing ovation by the home supporters when he replaced Raul towards the end of Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League win.

"I felt very good. I have waited a long time for this moment and I am very happy," he said. "We have started the Champions League very well, but I need to play more minutes to be better. I was not anxious to play, but I am very satisfied to have been able to make my debut at last."

Robben had little time to make a mark. The Dutch winger shot wide in the 89th minute in one of his few touches, but his new team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy said: "It was a nice moment for [him], he's worked very hard to get here tonight and I think he enjoyed his welcome at the Bernabeu."

Van Nistelrooy hit the winner in the 75th minute, the Netherlands striker slotting a short pass from Raul into the left of the Werder goal to make up for missing a handful of chances in the match.

Raul had given Real the lead in the 16th minute, but Boubacar Sanogo equalised a minute later with a header.

"It was hard work. We had chances and eventually they materialised," said Raul, who scored his 57th goal in European club competition. "This win does give us confidence going ahead in the group."

The Real coach, Bernd Schuster, said: "The team worked for this win, they knew it wasn't going to be easy. They worked, they fought, they did some things I liked a lot, some I didn't so much, but we deserved it in the end."

Real lead Group C with three points, while Bremen are bottom. Olympiakos and Lazio both have one point after a 1-1 draw in Athens played behind closed doors because of crowd trouble during the Greek club's home game against Roma in last season's competition.

Luciano Zauri scored a late equaliser to deny Olympiakos a winning start. Zauri beat the offside trap and fired the ball past home goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis in the 77th minute.

Olympiakos had gone ahead through Luciano Galletti in the 55th minute. He latched onto a pass from Predrag Djordjevic and dribbled round the Lazio goalkeeper Marco Ballotta before scoring.

It marred a memorable night for Ballotta, who at the age of 43 years and 168 days became the oldest player to appear in the Champions League group stages, smashing the record held by Alessandro Costacurta who was nearly 41 when he featured for Milan against AEK Athens last season.

Ballotta, who has also played for Internazionale, Reggina and Parma during his long career, also became the oldest player to feature in Serie A last season, breaking Dino Zoff's record.

"I think the result was fair," the Lazio defender Lionel Scaloni said. "The game was generally balanced but we had the edge in the second half."

Meanwhile, Real Madrid have a brand value of almost ¿1.1 billion [£790m], BBDO, a unit of advertising agency Omnicom, said in its initial ranking of the most valuable teams in Europe. Barcelona are second at ¿948m, with Manchester United third at ¿922m.

Real have built their brand value through sponsorships and worldwide touring, BBDO said. The club have toured Asia, South America and the United States and their three-year shirt sponsorship with online gambling company Bwin Interactive is worth more than ¿60m.

Real are also the world's richest club by revenue, with a turnover of ¿351m for the year ending 30 June.

BBDO's ranking helps companies interested in advertising to assess the mid- to long-term marketing potential of a club, the consultants said in a statement. Its analysis is based on evaluating brand popularity and image, as well as sources of business income.

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