Cristiano Ronaldo a perfect 10 in Real Madrid demolition of Celta Vigo
Supported by a brutal display of finishing power, Real Madrid thrashed Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu on Saturday, with Cristiano Ronaldo helping himself to four goals.
The Madridistas struggled to exert control over the match in the first half-hour, as both sides had chances to take the lead. However, after Pepe's headed goal on 40 minutes, Celta disappeared. Madrid then turned on the style after the break, scoring six goals in 31 minutes.
Real coach Zinedine Zidane also enjoyed the chance to bring back Gareth Bale and Marcelo Vieira to the team after their recent injuries. Second-half goals from the Welshman and Jese Rodriguez, who also came off the bench, further boosted the Frenchman.
Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Keylor Navas, 8 -- Could not do much about Iago Aspas' beautifully taken goal, but two point-blank saves from the Costa Rican in the first half were key. He's recovered his form from the beginning of the season.
DF Dani Carvajal, 6 - Very difficult first half for the Spaniard, who had to endure a quite inspired Nolito on his flank. Enjoyed more of the ball once Real Madrid's storm of goals started after halftime.
DF Pepe, 8 -- Scored a crucial goal and largely kept Aspas at bay. Caught off guard for Celta's goal, but it was more down to Aspas' ability than a mistake on Pepe's part.
DF Sergio Ramos, 7 -- Looked sharp. Alert and quick to react when Nolito and Fabian Orellana beat their markers.
DF Danilo Silva, 7 -- A decent performance against Atletico Madrid last weekend seems to have brought the best out of him. Ventured forward often and well. It's bizarre his best moments have arrived when he plays out of position.
MF Lucas Vazquez, 8 -- The 24-year-old has become a fan favourite in a very short period of time. The supporters value his impressive work rate, even if he still needs to improve his decision-making. Did not make the score sheet, but his mobility and intent played a significant part in his side's success.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 7 -- The more we see of Kovacic, the more it seems he should get more playing time. Showed again how comfortable he is with the ball, no matter how many opponents surround him. He linked up well with the wingers and forwards and put in a few good tackles as well.
MF Carlos Casemiro, 7 -- The Brazilian and Kovacic had not started together before in the middle of the pitch, and that became obvious during the first half. However, as the match went on, both managed to keep Celta's midfield at bay. Physical presence makes a difference when Madrid don't have the ball.
MF Isco, 6 -- The weakest link in Real Madrid's midfield. Took too much time to make his decisions with the ball.
FW Borja Mayoral, 6 -- The youngster earned a standing ovation thanks to his impressive effort, although he was far from inspired with the ball at his feet. Every minute he spends on the pitch is a very wise investment on Zidane's part.
FW Cristiano Ronaldo, 10 -- Destroyed Celta almost single-handedly. His rocket and beautifully taken free kick pushed the Gallegos out of the match, and then he added two more goals -- an easy tap-in and a powerful header. He almost scored another free kick, but Celta's Ruben Blanco reacted well. An afternoon of glory for Ronaldo, who answered his critics emphatically.
FW Gareth Bale, 7 -- Back from injury and beautifully finished with a great shot.
FW Jese Rodriguez, 7 -- Replaced Mayoral in the 70th minute. Scored a great solo goal.
DF Marcelo Vieira, N/R -- Replaced Carvajal in the 77th minute.
Eduardo is one of ESPN FC's Real Madrid bloggers and has been a socio since 1995. Follow him on Twitter @alvarez.