Cristiano Ronaldo sets new European record as Real Madrid move to brink of Spanish title
Liga, Estadio Balaídos - Celta Vigo 1 (Guidetti 69) Real Madrid 4 (Ronaldo 10, 48, Benzema 70, Kroos 88)
Cristiano Ronaldo became the all-time top scorer in Europe’s top five leagues as his double helped Real Madrid move within one point of the Liga crown with a 4-1 drubbing of 10-man Celta Vigo.
Zinedine Zidane fielded his strongest team for the re-arranged match, originally scheduled for February but postponed due to storm damage at the Balaidos, as Ronaldo - who has scored a record 368 goals - partnered Karim Benzema up front, with Isco supporting the two forwards.
It was Ronaldo who scored the opener after 10 minutes, with the Portuguese winger doubling Real Madrid’s lead just minutes into the second half. Iago Aspas was shown a controversial red card just after the hour mark, but that did not stop John Guidetti from halving the deficit for the hosts with a deflected strike.
However, goals from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos secured the points for Real Madrid, taking them to within touching distance of their first league championship since the 2011/12 season. A draw against Malaga on Sunday will be enough to take them over the line.
Cristiano RonaldoGetty Images
Ronaldo's 368 goals nudge him ahead of Jimmy Greaves (366), Gerd Muller (365) and Lionel Messi (347) as the all-time most prolific striker in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France.
Did the referee make a mistake in sending off Iago Aspas? Aspas was shown a second yellow card for going down inside the penalty area under the challenge of Sergio Ramos, but replays showed that there was contact between the two players, even if the Celta Vigo striker made the most of it. So did the referee make the wrong decision? It certainly won’t help the conspiracy theories.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Isco (Real Madrid): Not so long ago Isco’s future at Real Madrid was in question, but the playmaker has become one of the club’s key players over the past few weeks as they charge towards the league title. This was another demonstration of what Isco can do when he is in form, pulling the strings for Real Madrid in and around the opposition box. His assists for the first two goals got the visitors on their way to three points.
Zinedine Zidane: "The most difficult part is still to come even though we're getting closer (to the title) every day. We have one game left but today was very important. We know what we need to do, we need to prepare well and recover from today as we gave so much. The first half was end to end and that doesn't suit us, we were much better with the ball in the second and we played a little better. I don't feel like we're the champions yet, we still need to pick up more points and keep on with what we're doing."
Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their second goal with Isco.Eurosport
10’ - GOAL! Celta Vigo 0-1 Real Madrid. Real Madrid have an early lead at the Baladios! Isco dribbled to the edge of the box, with the ball falling to Ronaldo. He made no mistake in lashing home a finish, giving Sergio no chance.
27’ - TAKEN OFF RONALDO'S TOES! Benzema looked to find his Real Madrid teammate at the back post with a low pass, but it was taken off his toes by the slide challenge of Roncaglia
31’ - WASS STRIKE! The Celta Vigo attacker struck that with everything he has, but Navas shows great reactions to make the save. That was close to an equaliser for the home side!
48’ - GOAL! Celta Vigo 0-2 Real Madrid. An astonishing counter attack from Real Madrid result in Ronaldo sweeping home a finish. That was exceptional play from Isco to set up his Portuguese teammate for the shot. Great stuff!
62’ - SENT OFF! That's a controversial one. Aspas goes down inside the area under the challenge of Ramos, but the referee shows a yellow card to the Celta Vigo striker.
70’ - GOAL! Celta Vigo 1-2 Real Madrid. Celta Vigo have a way back into the match! Isco gave up possession far too cheaply and Guidetti takes aim from the edge of the box, finding the net via a deflection off Ramos. The 10 men are back in it!
71’ - GOAL! Celta Vigo 1-3 Real Madrid. Talk about an instant reaction! Marcelo drives into the Celta Vigo penalty area and squares a pass for Benzema, who has the simple task of finishing from close range. Real Madrid have their two goal cushion back.
76’ - WHAT AN ASTONISHING MISS! Ronaldo has all the time in the world to find the net from close range, sitting down Sergio, but he somehow manages to send his shot wide. Wow.
88’ - GOAL! Celta Vigo 1-4 Real Madrid. And that will be that! Asensio and Benzema win the ball between them on the edge of the box, with Kroos showing composure to find the bottom corner of the net with a calm finish.
Karim Benzema celebratesGetty Images
- Cristiano Ronaldo is now the all-time top-scorer in Europe’s top five leagues, surpassing Jimmy Greaves (366).
- Marcelo is the first defender to reach 10 assists in Europe’s top five leagues this season.
- Isco has been involved in more goals than any other midfielder in La Liga this season (18).