Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken of his respect for Sporting Lisbon after scoring a stunning, long-overdue free-kick against his former club on Wednesday night.

Bruno Cesar Zanaki had given the Portuguese outfit a surprise lead in the 47th minute, to stun the Bernabeu, before Ronaldo dragged Real Madrid back into the Champions League match with a sensational 25-yard set-piece.

After his 89th-minute equaliser Ronaldo was subdued in his celebration, and after the tie the 31-year-old highlighted the significance of Sporting in his career.

 Cristiano Ronaldo strikes his superb free-kick in against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday night

‘It was against the team where I learned my trade,’ Ronaldo said, via the club’s website.

‘The club has a place in my heart and I have a lot of respect for them.

‘That’s why I couldn’t celebrate it.’

The three-time Ballon d’Or winner’s goal seemed to immediately inspire Los Blancos, who nicked a late 2-1 victory when Alvaro Morata headed in, four minutes into added time.

Zinedine Zidane’s La Liga giants are now second in Group F, after one game played, with Borussia Dortmund having defeated Legia Warsaw 6-0 away from home at the Polish Army Stadium.

 ‘We were a bit flat at the start, but such is football and such is Real Madrid and the comebacks are part of this mythical stadium,’ Ronaldo said.

He added: ‘This game serves as a warning that we can’t be starting games so poorly, because teams will sweep the floor with us and we don’t want that.

‘We want to finish top of the group and win.’

 Ronaldo was continuing his comeback from the knee injury he sustained in the Euro 2016 final

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