Cristiano Ronaldo fires in five in nine-goal Real Madrid rout
Cristiano Ronaldo scored five times as Real Madrid moved to within a point of Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a stunning 9-1 thrashing of Granada on Sunday. Gareth Bale continued his fine form after bagging a brace for Wales last weekend by opening the scoring after 25 minutes.
Ronaldo then took over as he scored three times in eight minutes just after the half hour mark. Karim Benzema struck twice either side of Ronaldo’s fourth as Real added three more in a four-minute spell just after the break.
Robert Ibanez grabbed a consolation for the visitors, but Diego Mainz’s own goal made it 8-1 before Ronaldo rounded off the scoring with a towering header.
Barca can restore their four-point lead when they visit Celta Vigo later on Sunday. Madrid had only won one of their last four La Liga games before the international break, but coach Carlo Ancelotti was able to welcome back James Rodriguez for the first time in two months after recovering from a foot injury.
The Colombian World Cup star was heavily involved as Madrid dominated throughout, but it was Granada who had the first clear chance when Ibanez clipped the outside of the post after pouncing on a poor clearance from Iker Casillas.
Chances soon began to flow at the other end and Bale was first to capitalise when he latched onto Toni Kroos’s through ball to round Oier Olazabal and slot home from a narrow angle.
Rodriguez then sealed his comeback with a lovely assist with the outside of his left foot to allow Ronaldo to curl home his first of the afternoon.
The Portuguese soon made it 3-0 by lashing home from close range after Olazabal had spilled a cross to move ahead of Lionel Messi in the battle to be La Liga’s top goal scorer.
The World Player of the Year was far from finished, though, as he sealed an eight-minute hat-trick with some more help from the Granada ‘keeper as he couldn’t keep out his drive from 20 yards.
Granada offered embarrassingly little resistance after the break as Benzema was given plenty of time to control a corner from the left and fire home to make it 5-0.
Bale then unselfishly teed up Ronaldo to nod home his 46th goal of the season, although there was a brief scare for the home fans as Ronaldo collided with the frame of the goal in doing so but was soon back on his feet.
More shocking defending from Granada allowed Benzema to saunter through for a seventh barely 60 seconds later.
Ancelotti then took the chance to remove Kroos, Rodriguez and Benzema ahead of a busy month that includes another six league games and a return to Champions League action for the European champions.
Granada pulled a goal back when Ibanez burst clear of Raphael Varane to slot past Casillas, but their miserable day was rounded off when Mainz could only turn Javier Hernandez’s cross into his own net.
And fittingly Ronaldo had the final word when he rose highest to power Luka Modric’s free-kick in at the far post.