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."
|Dybala: I can play alongside Messi|
|Lewandowski: Poland didn´t take enough risks|
|England´s Kane aiming to reach Ronaldo, Messi levels with World Cup performances|
|Kicker given three-year match-fixing ban|
|England confirm Alli thigh injury|
|Federer through, Zverev out in Halle|
|Back on the map and earning letters from ladies, Tabarez embraces Uruguay´s heritage|
|Rampant England rout Australia in record-breaking display|
|Pulisic in right place at Dortmund, says Arena|
|Wilshere confirms Arsenal exit|
|NASCAR at Sonoma: TV schedule, standings, qualifying drivers for Toyota/Save Mart 350|
|Muguruza and Kvitova cruise through in Birmingham|
|Leno among top 10 most expensive goalkeepers|
|Pained Salah unable to halt Russia´s unlikely march|
|Kyrgios downs ´legend´ Murray as Dimitrov and Djokovic progress|
|Neymar pain normal – Coutinho unconcerned by ankle issue|
|Russia 3 Egypt 1: Salah strikes but hosts right on course for last 16|
|We must make Ronaldo less exceptional, says Morocco boss Renard|
|Chandimal handed one-Test ball tampering ban, faces further ICC charge|
|Arsenal sign goalkeeper Leno from Leverkusen|
|Mexico style in Germany win surprised Arena|
|Monaco complete €20m move for Lyon teenager Geubbels|
|Saudi team don´t know cause of aeroplane fire, Pizzi reveals|
|Champions League qualifying draw: Celtic travel to Armenia, Ajax face Sturm Graz|
|I´ve never seen a player win on his own – Santos shrugs off Ronaldo dependence|
|Murray impresses despite narrow defeat on return|
|West Ham land club-record Diop signing|
|El Hadji Diouf hails ´perfect start´ for Senegal|
|Cisse and Senegal give cause for African celebration|
|Carvajal ready to face Iran - Hierro|
|Japan´s World Cup victory over Colombia sparks celebrations on the streets of Tokyo|
|Poland 1 Senegal 2: Good fortune and bad errors hand Africans Group H win|
|England shatter ODI world record with total of 481 against Australia|
|Best yet to come from England hero Kane, says Rashford|
|Salah starts for Egypt against Russia|
|De Jong expects to stay at Ajax|
|Barcelona angered by Pique´s involvement in Griezmann saga|
|Federer begins Halle defence with comfortable Bedene win|
|Tabarez not worried by slow Suarez start|
|Brazil´s Neymar felt pain in his ankle, CBF confirms|
|Griezmann understands Atletico fans´ nerves over Barcelona speculation|
|Queiroz salutes Hierro for uniting Spain|
|Stump from Scotland´s defeat of England auctioned for charity|
|Red Bull will not have works team label, confirm Honda|
|Neymar hobbles out of Brazil World Cup training|
|Ronaldo´s revelry, Messi´s miss and Sanchez´s shocker - Russia 2018, World Cup of the penalty|
|Brazil ask FIFA to explain VAR decisions against Switzerland|
|Colombia 1 Japan 2: Sanchez red spoils Pekerman´s plans|
|Argentina v Croatia: Mercado wants an end to ´Messidependencia´|
|Hoffenheim director suggests €50m bid could land Kramaric|
|England will emerge as a ´champion team´, insists Jones|
|Ryder Cup teams shaping up great, says Strange|
|We cannot replace Iniesta – Abidal|
|Colombia´s Sanchez sees second-quickest World Cup red card|
|France v Peru: Varane and Les Bleus calm after unconvincing start|
|Semenya challenges IAAF hyperandrogenism rule with CAS|
|No Germany line-up changes needed, says Neuer|
|James absent from Colombia line-up|
|Alli to have scan on thigh knock after England win|
|Mooy not using World Cup to facilitate transfer from Huddersfield|
|Billy Vunipola a big loss for England, says Vermeulen|
|´Incredible´ Firmino works like a defender, says Mane|
|Jackson and Olding could make Ireland returns|
|Stokes and Woakes ruled out of T20I matches|
|Denmark v Australia: Socceroos confident of reaching last 16|
|Argentina should have selected Icardi for the World Cup, Zanetti claims|
|Except for Messi, Croatia are better than Argentina - Kovacic|
|I chose Real Madrid over PSG and Barcelona – Vinicius Junior|
|Germany should drop Ozil - Effenberg|
|Anything is possible with Tiger - Strange backs Woods revival despite U.S. Open misery|