MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his fifth Ballon d’Or award by leading Real Madrid to victory on Saturday, while Valencia kept the pressure on La Liga leaders Barcelona.
Ronaldo presented his trophy for the best player in football to Real’s fans then scored twice for the first time in a league game this season as Sevilla were routed 5-0 at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Ronaldo received the honour on Thursday in Paris, his fifth trophy equaling Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.
After soaking up the ovation before kickoff from his fans, Ronaldo went on to have his best performance in the league this season.
Sevilla had started the afternoon on the same number of points as Real in joint fourth, but the sides looked worlds apart as Real scored all five goals before half-time.
Nacho got the hosts off to a perfect start before Ronaldo doubled his La Liga tally for the season with a cool finish and a penalty inside the half-hour mark. Toni Kroos and Achraf Hakimi rounded off the rout.
Second-placed Valencia needed a late penalty converted by Dani Parejo to see off Celta Vigo 2-1 and provisionally pull to within two points of Barca.
Valencia were looking for a first win in three games to revive their unlikely title bid and took the lead through a header from top scorer Simone Zaza in the 28th minute, the Italian’s 10th league goal of the season.
Iago Aspas stabbed in from close range in the 46th minute to equalise for Celta, who had held Barca to a 2-2 draw last weekend, but Parejo restored Valencia’s lead nine minutes from time with a double stroke of fortune as his disputed penalty went through the hands of goalkeeper Ruben Blanco.
Valencia are second in the standings on 34 points while Real go third on 31 but Atletico Madrid can go back above Zinedine Zidane’s side if they win their game in hand.
COURTESY BY: https://www.dawn.com