Real Madrid barely had to get out of second gear as they claimed a straightforward win against struggling Granada.
Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema were all on target as Madrid recorded an eleventh straight win in all competitions and prepared for the midweek Champions League visit of Liverpool in comfortable style.
Granada Coach Joaquin Caparros attracted headlines on Friday when he ripped up the front cover of Marca in protest at their reporting of comments he made in an interview – but it’s barely an exaggeration to say Madrid made lighter work of his team than he did of the offending publication.
Ronaldo scored after 99 seconds when Dani Carvajal kept the ball alive on the dead-ball line, found Karim Benzema and he in turn set-up the prolific Portugal captain.
It was two on the half-hour when Benzema flicked on Carvajal’s throw-in and it fell nicely for James Rodriguez, who lashed in to the far corner from a tight angle on the edge of the penalty area.
Benzema wrapped up the game before the hour mark with another contribution from Ronaldo, this time latching on to a back-heel to beat Roberto from close range.
Alvaro Arbeloa was sent away and squared for Ronaldo who – while falling – sent the ball goalwards and James made sure of the fourth goal from close range, although it may go down as a Jean-Sylvain Babin own goal.
Pepe and Luka Modric were fit to start as Carlo Ancelotti named the same XI that beat Barcelona a week ago while Granada made two changes from the side that drew with Eibar.
The game had barely started when Madrid went in front, Granada defender Jeison Murillo punished for not seeing the ball out and his teammates for stopping in anticipation of a whistle for a foul on Murillo by Carvajal that never came.
Granada had a few forays forward but were unable to build much momentum while Isco and James and Benzema went close.
Ronaldo was again at the centre of play on the occasion of his 700th professional game when his back-heel found the marauding Carvajal, but the right-back’s shot was wild.
James showed Carvajal how it’s done shortly after to give Madrid the daylight they desired but there was concern when Pepe and Sergio Ramos got into a muddle and the former landed a big boot on the latter’s mid-section. Ramos was though able to play on.
Carvajal wasn’t so lucky as his game ended before half-time with what looked to be a hamstring injury, the right-back likely now a doubt to play Liverpool in midweek.
Granada lost Isaac Success to injury early in the second half and it got worse for El Grana not long after when Benzema scored the game’s third goal.
Madrid’s dominance was seen when Marcelo was able to cut inside and hit the crossbar with a powerful right-footed drive, then shooting over with his left after a sweeping move found Isco who was too closely-attended to shoot.
Ruben Rochina had a shot blocked by a sprawling Sergio Ramos and an Abdoul Sissoko header went over following a neat move as Granada showed signs of life.
It was though only a brief flurry and Madrid’s dominance was only extended with the game’s fourth goal.
Los Blancos were able to see the game out with little incident, the injury to Carvajal the only aspect of the game to concern Ancelotti.
Granada 0-4 Madrid
Ronaldo 2, James 31, 86, Benzema 54
Granada: Roberto; Nyom, Babin, Murillo, Carlos; Foulquier, Iturra, Eddy (Marquez 46), Sissoko; Cordoba (Rochina 65), Success (El Arabi 50)
Granada substitutes: Oier, Mainz, Yuste, Marquez, El Arabi, Larsson, Rochina
Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal (Arbeloa 38), Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; James, Kroos, Modric (Khedira 75), Isco (Illarra 83); Ronaldo, Benzema
Real Madrid substitutes: Navas, Varane, Arbeloa, Nacho, Khedira, Illarra, Hernandez
Referee: Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez