CRISTIANO RONALDO PARADED his fourth Ballon d’Or and powered home his first goal of 2017 as Real Madrid equalled Barcelona’s Spanish record 39-game unbeaten run with a 5-0 demolition of lowly Granada on Saturday.
The Portuguese was honoured by previous Ballon d’Or winners to have played for Madrid – Raymond Kopa, Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Michael Owen and his coach Zinedine Zidane before kick-off.
And Real’s relentless run stretching back to April last year continued once the action got underway as they scored four in the opening half-hour.
Isco and Karim Benzema slotted home from close range before Ronaldo, who had been rested for Real’s 3-0 Copa del Rey win over Sevilla in midweek, bulleted home a header from Marcelo’s cross.
Another simple finish from Isco made it four before the break and Casemiro turned home James Rodriguez’s free-kick for the fifth after half-time.
Defeat leaves Granada firmly rooted in the relegation zone with just nine points from 17 games.
At the top, Barca can close back to within three points of the leaders with victory at Villarreal on Sunday.
Zidane insisted on Friday that he is keen to keep Ronaldo fresh with Real facing a heavily congested fixture list between now and the end of the season.
The Frenchman made four changes from the side that saw off Sevilla with ease in midweek with Keylor Navas returning in goal and all of Ronaldo, Benzema and Isco coming in up front.
– © AFP 2017