Real Madrid matched Barcelona’s record run of 39 games unbeaten after a comprehensive 5-0 win against Granada on Saturday.
Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the Madrid XI and was presented his fourth Ballon d’Or before kick-off by the club’s former winners Luis Figo, namesake Ronaldo, Michael Owen and Coach Zinedine Zidane. James Rodriguez, however, was demoted to the bench.
Regardless, Marcelo and Dani Carvajal were Los Blancos’ most potent threats thanks to their pinpoint deliveries into the Granada box from either flank, Karim Benzema – also back in the team – having missed two of them by a whisker.
Soon after, Barcelona loanee Sergi Samper was caught cold in his own half as Isco robbed the ball, played a one-two and finished the move off.
Gerard Pique wouldn’t have been a happy man as Benzema was clearly offside when he mopped up the rebound from Luka Modric’s spilled shot for 2-0.
A third goal came little after the half-hour mark, when Marcelo shimmied past his opponent down the left before whipping a cross into Granada’s penalty area for Ronaldo to head home.
Great work from Luka Modric saw him ghost down the right, into the box and drill a cross for Isco to tap in at Guillermo Ochoa’s far post for 4-0 before half-time.
The second half began with Toni Kroos making way for James, and the Colombian almost made it five with a swerving drive that Ochoa just about pushed away.
Isco, meanwhile, was completely unmarked when he Carvajal’s cross in the Granada box, but his header went wide. However, he pulled up with a knock moments later and was quickly replaced by Marco Asensio.
Still, James notched up another assist for himself as his free kick was flighted into the box for Casemiro to tuck away. He earned the next set-piece as a result, this time curling the ball inches wide of Ochoa’s left-hand post.
Moments after the touchline saved Keylor Navas from embarrassment, Ronaldo drove a shot at Ochoa, although he may have been better off teeing it up for a colleague.
Indeed, Granada - whose defender David Lomban admitted after the game that his side were never in the match – finally forced Navas into a save in the dying embers as Artem Kravets was slipped through, but his close-range strike is straight at the Costa Rican.
Real Madrid 5-0 Granada
Isco 12, 31, Benzema 20, Ronaldo 27, Casemiro 58
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo (Coentrao 68), Modric, Casemiro, Kroos (James 46); Isco (Asensio 51), Benzema, Ronaldo
Granada: Ochoa; Tito, Tabanou (Ponce 77), Lomban, Vezo, Silva; Boga (Bueno 65), Samper, Agbo (Marquez 60), Pereira; Kravets