Seventh heaven for Madrid

Real Madrid produced a second-half blitz to thrash Celta Vigo 7-1 in La Liga on Saturday, with Cristiano Ronaldo helping himself to four goals.

Casemiro, Lucas Vazquez and Borja Mayoral were all involved once more, having starred in the 3-1 win at Levante midweek, while Marcelo and Bale both returned to the squad after they shook off calf injuries. However, neither Luka Modric nor Toni Kroos figured in the matchday squad due to a foot injury and a bout of flu respectively, as did not Karim Benzema, who was absent for the third straight game.

Los Blancos desperately needed a convincing performance in front of their own fans as their last home game was a 1-0 defeat to arch-rivals Atletico Madrid, but the Galicians should’ve been party poopers when Iago Aspas sent a free header onto Keylor Navas’ crossbar and failed to dispatch the rebound from a yard out.

It was then Madrid’s turn to test Celta goalkeeper Ruben Blanco, yet Isco could only aim for the custodian’s gloves from point-blank range after the midfielder showed sublime skill to bypass two visiting defenders in the penalty area.

Madrid’s lack of cutting edge in the final third meant one would’ve been forgiven for expecting a stalemate during the break, but Pepe climbed highest at the end of the first half to power home a corner with his head.

Ronaldo was heavily criticised for his perceived attack on his Madrid teammates last weekend, but he issued a fitting response with an unstoppable drive from outside the Celta box, which dipped over Ruben and into the back of the goalkeeper’s net.

The No 7 wasn’t done there, however, as he bent the free kick from almost 40 yards out over the wall and found the top-left corner and came Ruben’s bar away from a quick-fire hat-trick, the custodian pushing the set-piece onto the woodwork.

Madrid’s dominance was momentarily suspended by Aspas, who was away in the clear and dinked a perfectly-chipped finish over Navas, but a moment of steel from Casemiro was promptly rounded off by a Ronaldo tap-in for his hat-trick.

That goal moved the Portuguese level with La Liga’s second all-time top scorer Telmo Zarra, and he would go one better, with only Lionel Messi above him, when he sent a bullet header past Ruben.

Celta were comprehensively outed in all aspects of the game, and Jese only needed a matter of seconds after Ronaldo’s fourth to cut inside and fire Madrid’s sixth into the bottom-left corner of the Ruben’s net, before Bale marked his comeback with a cracking low strike, which clipped in off the post.

Real Madrid 7-1 Celta Vigo

Pepe 41, Ronaldo 50, 58, 64, 76, Jese 77, Bale 81 (RM) Aspas 62 (CV)

Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal (Marcelo 77), Ramos, Pepe, Danilo; Isco (Bale 65), Casemiro, Kovacic; Vazquez, Mayoral (Jese 70), Ronaldo

Celta Vigo: Ruben; Jonny, Mallo, Gomez, Planas; Wass (Beauvue 77), Diaz, Hernandez (Radoja 35); Orellana, Aspas (Guidetti 67), Nolito

Referee: Gil Manzano