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Benitez cools De Gea rumours

Real Madrid's head coach Rafael Benitez, in Guangzhou on July 27, 2015, brushed off rumours of making a bid for David de Gea. PHOTO/AFP

Real Madrid’s head coach Rafael Benitez, in Guangzhou on July 27, 2015, brushed off rumours of making a bid for David de Gea. PHOTO/AFP

GUANGZHOU, July 28- Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez brushed off rumours of making a bid for David de Gea and said he was confident Sergio Ramos would stay at his club after watching his side beat Inter Milan 3-0 in Guangzhou on Monday.

Real’s Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo put on a scintillating first-half show, James Rodriguez capped a brief cameo with a stunning goal and Jese and Raphael Varane also scored either side of half-time.

But Benitez again had to field questions about the transfer rumour mill before he could praise his players after a thumping win in the International Champions Cup.

Manchester United earlier on Monday signed Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero, ramping up the speculation that Spaniard De Gea would head back to his home country, possibly in a deal involving Real captain Ramos going the other way.

“De Gea?” said Benitez when asked about the rumours by reporters. “All I know is we scored three goals and I’m very happy.”

Benitez added that Ramos had met club president Florentino Perez in Guangzhou on Monday and reiterated his belief that the defender was going nowhere and would sign a new contract soon.

“I asked Perez how the meeting with Ramos went on Sunday after dinner,” said Benitez. “He told me both parties were optimistic. I am optimistic.”

On the field it was the display of the modern-day Galacticos Ronaldo and Bale that will live long in the memory of the almost 40,000 fans who packed the Tianhe stadium and left Benitez purring.

“The players’ attitude has been very good pre-season,” said Benitez.

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“To score three and not concede shows the hard work is paying off. It was a fantastic performance. Very good in front of goal.”

– Bale, Ronaldo dominate –

Real Madrid had thumped Manchester City 4-1 in Melbourne on Friday and they were again quickly into their stride, with Bale and Ronaldo at the heart of the best plays.

On another day each might have claimed a first-half hat-trick in a rampant display.

Welshman Bale and Portuguese Ronaldo both shot wastefully wide when clear on goal and then forced string of saves from the superb Samir Handanovic in the Inter goal.

A one-handed effort at full stretch from a trademark dipping and swerving 35-yard Ronaldo free-kick was the pick of a terrific first-half display by the big Slovenian.

When the breakthrough came after 29 minutes it inevitably involved the marauding Bale, who swung a crossfield ball to find the advancing full-back Marcelo in space on the left.

The Brazilian had time to pick out Jese near the back post with a pinpoint cross and he turned inside Jeison Murillo to find the right-hand corner of the net in a flash.

Ronaldo went through his full repertoire of tricks, teases and step-overs to huge roars and Bale was a constant threat, terrorising full-back Martin Montoya with his pace.

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But with Handanovic standing firm, Inter somehow made it to the break without conceding further.

– ‘Better with every game’ –

A glut of half-time substitutions which saw Ronaldo and Bale depart interrupted Madrid’s flow, but they were in control and netted again on 55 minutes.

Inter failed to clear a corner properly and the ball was recycled from Toni Kroos to substitute Lucas Vazquez. He picked out the lurking Raphael Varane, another sub, who buried his header from six yards.

There was just time for Colombia’s World Cup hero James Rodriguez, who had only joined up with the Real Madrid squad in China on Sunday after his Copa America exertions, to enter the fray in the 77th minute.

He completed a wonderful, if brief, first appearance on tour for Real with a 35-yard left-foot curling free-kick into the left-hand corner two minutes from time.

Real Madrid will travel on to Shanghai where they face Inter’s city rivals AC Milan on Thursday.

But the blue and black half of Milan are left to reflect on a miserable China tour where they failed to score a single goal in losing all three matches.

“Obviously the results haven’t been positive, but the main thing is to see a performance and we’ve got better as a team with every game,” Inter manager Roberto Mancini said.

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Hotshot Mauro Icardi, Serie A’s joint top scorer last term, will soon be partnered up front by Stevan Jovetic, who arrived in Milan on Monday to complete the formalities of his move from Manchester City.

“I’m not worried that we haven’t scored,” added Mancini. “Because I’m sure that Inter will step up when it matters.

“Jovetic is a different forward to Icardi and (Rodrigo) Palacio and will be an important player for us.”

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