Cristiano Ronaldo scored a long-range thunderbolt worthy of the recently awarded Ballon d’Or to spark Real Madrid’s 5-0 rout at Real Betis, provisionally lifting his team level with the leaders of the Spanish league on Saturday.
Ronaldo netted one of his signature free kicks in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday to celebrate being named the world player of the year, and he topped that with a 25-metre blast on the run in the 10th minute in Seville.
Gareth Bale followed Ronaldo’s rocket with a delicately placed free kick in the 25th minute for his first goal since November 30, leaving the hosts demoralised and in tatters at the back. Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria and Alvaro Morata all scored before the demolition of bottom-side Betis was over.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Rocket Goal against Real Betis
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid can both regain their advantage over Madrid when they play their matches on Sunday.
‘‘Everything went our way,’’ Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. ‘‘It was an important opportunity to reach the top of the table. At least we can sleep well tonight.’’
Entering the match on a 12-game winless streak and showing no improvement since Juan Carlos Garrido replaced Pepe Mel as their coach, Betis desperately needed to repeat their 1-0 win over Madrid from last season. But Madrid dominated possession from the start, and the talent of Ronaldo and company soon crushed any hopes of an upset.
Ancelotti said he would ask Ronaldo ‘‘for more’’ after he won his second Ballon d’Or on Monday, and his star forward has certainly done that with two superb goals in a week to help his team advance past Osasuna in the Copa del Rey and tighten the league title race.
Ronaldo was aggressive as ever from the start against Betis and his effort paid off when he unleashed a right-foot strike while dribbling at full speed that sailed past goalkeeper Stephan Andersen. The shot increased Ronaldo’s league-leading tally to 21 goals in 20 rounds. He has 31 goals now in 26 appearances overall this season for Madrid.
Here are The Match Pictures [HQ]: