MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his fifth Ballon d‘Or award by scoring twice for the first time in a La Liga game this season as champions Real Madrid swept to a 5-0 rout of Sevilla on Saturday to move within five points of leaders Barcelona.
Real faced a crisis in defence with Raphael Varane, captain Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, and holding midfielder Casemiro unavailable but Zinedine Zidane’s side produced a lethal attacking display, scoring all their goals before halftime.
Nacho Fernandez cashed in on a woeful attempted clearance from the visitors following a corner to put Real ahead in the third minute. Ronaldo side-footed home a through ball from Marco Asensio to score the second in the 23rd.
Ronaldo, who had paraded his joint-record five Ballon d‘Or trophies on the Santiago Bernabeu pitch before kick-off, thumped in the third from the penalty spot, his kick proving too powerful for visiting goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
Toni Kroos scored the most impressive goal of the game by charging forward from his own half and playing a wall pass with Lucas Vazquez before stroking the ball beyond Rico, while 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi notched his first goal for Real to complete another lethal breakaway.
Real coach Zidane said he was delighted with his side’s performance, especially after last week’s goalless draw at Athletic Bilbao.
“It has been a great day for us, above all because we won and scored a lot and we hadn’t done that much so far this season. It was a very complete game for us and that means a lot to me,” the coach told a news conference.
“We’re growing in every sense and playing better. When you play better you create more chances, we created a lot today and scored five times, for the first time this season (in the league).”
Real go third in the standings on 31 points, level with Valencia — who host Celta Vigo later on Saturday — and five behind Barcelona, who visit Villarreal on Sunday.
Sevilla went into the game level on points with Real and after qualifying for the last-16 of the Champions League but they were blown apart and suffered their heaviest defeat of the season in all competitions.
Real, meanwhile, head off in confident mood to the United Arab Emirates to try to defend the Club World Cup title and will miss next week’s domestic action.