Dani Ceballos described Cristiano Ronaldo as "the soul of the team" after he made a decisive return to action in Real Madrid's Champions League win over APOEL.
The Portugal star scored twice to take his career tally in the competition to 107 and give Zinedine Zidane's side a winning start in the defence of the trophy.
It was Ronaldo's first competitive appearance for Madrid since the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana, with the 32-year-old to serve the final instalment of a five-match domestic ban against Real Sociedad on Sunday.
The European and Spanish champions have drawn their last two LaLiga games in his absence and Ceballos has admitted that they need him back as soon as possible.
"With Cristiano on the field, we're always more comfortable and he gives us the confidence that turns in to goals," he said.
"He's the soul of the team, he's fundamental for us and he's in better shape than ever. He's had a great game and his ambition makes him the best in the world."
It was Ceballos' first appearance since his debut in the Supercopa and the 21-year-old revelled in realising a dream by playing in Europe's top competition.
"I am happy to have started my Champions League dream with a win, it will be hard to forget," said Ceballos, who joined from Real Betis in July for a reported fee of €18million.
"It is a special day for me, a dream come true. The team started well and we were electric in the second half, which led to us getting a great win.
"We are trying to write history, it is in our hands and we showed the drive we have to win a third consecutive Champions League title."
|Kerr: What Embiid did against the Lakers was terrifying|
|Cook extends lead at RSM Classic|
|Frampton beats Garcia by unanimous decision in front of Canelo|
|Championship Review: Millwall deny sloppy Sunderland, Wolves back on top|
|Simeone rallies around under-fire Griezmann|
|Hogg and Barclay ´gutted´ to let All Blacks escape|
|It´s a growth process - Montella optimistic despite Napoli loss|
|Spalletti happy at Inter, tips Ancelotti for Italy job|
|Sarri defends sacked Ventura over Insigne´s Italy snub|
|Los Blank-os! Misfiring Real Madrid break new ground under Zidane|
|Zidane upbeat despite derby stalemate|
|Zidane unsure on Ramos absence with suspected broken nose|
|Mind the gap! Real Madrid must make history to retain LaLiga title|
|Dimitrov denies Sock to book Goffin showdown|
|Springboks gain measure of revenge over 2023 RWC hosts France|
|Alonso fuels Le Mans talk with WEC rookie test|
|Napoli 2 AC Milan 1: Insigne stars after Italy snub as leaders move four points clear|
|Atletico Madrid 0 Real Madrid 0: Defences dominate in historic derby|
|Wasps sting Falcons, Warriors off the mark|
|Montpellier take charge of Top 14 as Lyon slip up|
|Pjaca scores winner for Juventus Primavera on return from injury|
|Jones bristles at suggestion England ´got lucky´|
|Lions don´t recover like humans! - Ibrahimovic and Pogba thrilled to be back|
|Pogba was different class - Mourinho praises midfielder after impressive comeback|
|Competition is good – PSG boss Emery explains benching Mbappe|
|Klopp apologises after Moreno misses birth of child|
|Experimental Ireland XV survives Fiji scare|
|Cheika makes no excuses after controversial calls hurt Australia|
|Valiant Scotland fall short against clinical All Blacks|
|Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1: Pogba shines as Ibrahimovic makes his return|
|Hodgson accuses Niasse of diving to win Everton penalty|
|´Why not?´ - Hazard believes Chelsea can catch City|
|Roma 2 Lazio 1: Nainggolan stunner proves decisive|
|Bournemouth hat-trick hero Wilson: I need to be selfish|
|Valverde admits scoreline in Leganes win was ´excessive´|
|Pulis leaves uncertain future to West Brom board|
|Results not far away for struggling Swansea, claims Clement|
|Heynckes proud of 500 Bundesliga wins as Bayern go six points clear|
|Al-Hilal 1 Urawa Red Diamonds 1: Rafael earns valuable first-leg draw|
|Stones could be set for six-week spell on sidelines|
|Paris Saint-Germain 4 Nantes 1: Cavani double puts hosts six clear|
|Guardiola delighted to maintain rhythm after international break|
|Woeful Sunderland set new record ahead of expected Coleman appointment|
|Suarez unmoved despite ending Barca drought|
|Cheika fumes as England claim controversial win over Wallabies|
|Thumb injury ends Coleman´s tour|
|Leganes 0 Barcelona 3: Scruffy Suarez double ends goal drought|
|Amos try the difference as Wales labour to Georgia win|
|Crystal Palace 2 Everton 2: Niasse equaliser boosts Unsworth´s case|
|Heynckes reaches record 500th Bundesliga win|
|Bournemouth 4 Huddersfield Town 0: Hat-trick hero Wilson stars for 10-man Cherries|
|Burnley 2 Swansea City 0: Old boy Cork stars as Dyche´s men win again|
|Liverpool 3 Southampton 0: Record-breaking Salah blows Saints away|
|Leicester City 0 Manchester City 2: Jesus & De Bruyne on target as Guardiola´s title tilt continues|
|West Brom 0 Chelsea 4: Hazard leads rampant champions in piling pressure on Pulis|
|Pumas finish strongly to see off Italy|
|They love the club - Wenger hopeful over Ozil, Sanchez deals|
|Bayern Munich 3 Augsburg 0: Lewandowski double sends leaders six points clear|
|Goffin stuns favourite Federer to reach London final|
|Wenger hails tenacious Ozil after derby delight|
|Lacazette and Sanchez are always dangerous - Ozil|
|Fleetwood revels in revival as Race to Dubai drama looms|
|Pochettino fumes over refereeing decisions after derby defeat|
|I´m happy at Juventus - Allegri rejects Italy speculation|
|Lamela returns from injury for Tottenham U23s|
|Paine could keep Australia Test spot for years, says Ponting|
|Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0: Ozil and Sanchez come up trumps for Wenger|
|Kimmich: Working with Guardiola was incredible|
|Rose pushes clear as Fleetwood finishes with a flourish|
|Hayne: Fiji slayed a giant|