The football landscape on the south-coast has changed significantly in recent years; it seemed like only yesterday when AFC Bournemouth was fighting to maintain Football League status. Four years on and the Cherries have won promotion to the Championship, and on the back of this, a glamour tie against Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The megastars rocked upon the shores of Bournemouth on 21 July, the excitement growing in the seaside town as kick-off approached. To the delight of those who had paid over the odds for a ticket, Ronaldo started the match and didn’t disappoint. The team-sheet was glittered with star studded names, but locals could hardly wait to catch a glimpse of the Portuguese superstar in action. The sun-soaked surface glistened as he and his teammates graced the turf, and within minutes he bamboozled Bournemouth’s defenders with his trickery.
Ronaldo’s class finally shone through, finding his way past a stubborn Bournemouth with one of his trademark free-kicks. The shot dipped and swerved and in a flash nestled into the bottom corner, this unstoppable strike was an unbelievable sight for the naked eye. Within minutes the home team were reminded of Ronaldo’s clinical nature, as he punished the heavy touch of the defender by slotting the ball into the net for Madrid’s second. From this point on the flood gates opened, and an exhibition resulted in Bournemouth being hit for six.
Defeat was a reminder of the gulf between the two sides, but more importantly it gave AFC Bournemouth exposure to the outside world which puts them on the map. For realists and most of the local support, it wasn’t about the result. The match was a reward for the efforts of players and fans in recent seasons, which has resulted in a exciting Championship football campaign which is just weeks away.