Real Madrid gave a warning to Al Jazira, their opponents at the Fifa Club World Cup on Wednesday, that they are beginning to find their best form as they trounced Sevilla 5-0 on Saturday in the Primera Liga in their last game before they fly out to Abu Dhabi.
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his recent Ballon d’Or award by scoring twice for the first time in a league game this season as the Spanish and European champions cut the gap to five points to leaders Barcelona, who play tonight against Villarreal.
Real had faced a crisis in defence with Raphael Varane, captain Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and holding midfielder Casemiro all unavailable, but Zinedine Zidane’s side produced a lethal attacking display, scoring all their goals before half time.
Nacho Fernandez cashed in on a woeful attempted clearance from the visitors following a corner to put Real ahead in the third minute. Ronaldo sidefooted 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, then 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 exchanging passeds with Lucas Vazquez before stroking the ball beyond Rico, and 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi notched his first goal for Real in the 42nd minute to complete another lbreakaway.
Zidane was content with his side’s performance and wants his team, who have struggled for consistency so far this campaign, to emulate yesterday’s performance going forward.
“Our objective is thinking that we can play like this always,” he said in his post-match news conference.
“We have been playing well for four or five games now. That is the most important thing for me, as that way things arrive, like today for example.”
While Ronaldo again took the headlines for his goals in a week when his individual skills were again recognised, Zidane was eager to highlight that it was a team effort that had pushed Madrid to their success and would do so in the UAE.
“I’m happy with everyone’s performance, the most important thing for me is that everyone is involved, we’re always going to rotate and we’ll need the help of all the players,” he said.