Nadal watches Real Madrid come from behind to beat Napoliby Rohan Toure 15/02/2017 18:13:00 0 comments 1 Views
- Rafa Nadal watched on as Real Madrid established two-goal lead against Napoli
- Australian Open finalist is a lifelong supporter of reigning European champions
- Nadal was all smiles after Casemiro smashed in Real's superb third on the night
- 30-year-old sat alongside younger sister Maria Isabel at the Santiago Bernabeu
By Ben Grounds For Mailonline
Published: 18:13 EST, 15 February 2017 | Updated: 18:13 EST, 15 February 2017
Real Madrid put daylight between themselves and Napoli in their Champions League last 16 clash, and tennis star Rafa Nadal was among the great and the good to absorb the prestigious first leg clash.
The Australian Open runner-up was joined by his sister Maria Isabel and father Sebastian at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night to witness the reigning European champions take a two-goal advantage to Italy.
Lifelong Madrid fan Nadal is often pictured at home games, and with Diego Maradona and King Juan Carlos also present in the Spanish capital, the hosts overcame a shaky start to seal a deserved 3-1 victory over the 1989 UEFA Cup winners.
Tennis star and Real Madrid fan Rafa Nadal watched on as the Spanish side beat Napoli 3-1
Nadal applauds the players out onto the pitch for the Champions League last 16 contest
Argentina and Napoli legend Diego Maradona was also in the stands to watch the encounter
Toni Kroos is congratulated by Marcelo after the German stroked Madrid in front on the night
Lorenzo Insigne sent the 10,000 Napoli fans who made the trip to Madrid into raptures by surprising Keylor Navas with an audacious effort to give the visitors the lead after eight minutes.
But Real responded, and levelled after Dani Carvajal's cross with the outside of his boot was headed past Pepe Reina by Karim Benzema, who became the highest scoring Frenchman in the Champions League with 51 goals.
Madrid quickly came out the blocks in the second half, taking the lead when Toni Kroos stroked home from Cristiano Ronaldo's cut-back, and a beaming smile broke across Nadal's face after Casemiro crashed in a third shortly afterwards.
The two-goal cushion Madrid take to the San Paolo stadium did not flatter the hosts, and Nadal will hope the La Liga giants can finish off the job in Naples in three weeks' time.
Nadal was happy to see his boyhood club enjoy more success in Europe on Wednesday night
The 30-year-old shows his delight after Casemiro's thunderbolt third for Zinedine Zidane's side
Madrid recovered from a goal down to take a solid advantage with them in the second leg
Juan Carlos I of Spain looks on from the stands ahead of the Champions League last 16 tie
The Mallorcan has enjoyed a resurgent 2017 so far having come within a set of beating Roger Federer in Melbourne last month, and the world No 6 will hope to build on narrowly missing out on his 15th major title in the lead up to Roland Garros at the end of May.
Nadal's public appearances comes in the same week that it emerged his uncle Toni will step down as his coach after this year's ATP Tour, as he feels he has been sidelined by other figures in the player's entourage.
The 55-year-old has been with his nephew since before the Spaniard broke into the big-time by winning the French Open as a teenager in 2005.