Cristiano Ronaldo scores four as Real Madrid thrash Celta Vigo
Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the top of the Primera Division scoring charts by grabbing four goals in the second half as Real Madrid thrashed Celta Vigo 7-1 at the Bernabeu.
Gareth Bale marked his return from a hamstring injury by scoring in his first appearance in 50 days, while Pepe and Jese also got on the scoresheet for the Merengues -- Iago Aspas got Celta's only goal in their worst defeat of the season.
But the afternoon really belonged to Ronaldo, who was heavily criticised last week for his derisory comments about his teammates following the derby defeat to Atletico Madrid.
The Portuguese moves on to 26 league goals for the season, one ahead of Barcelona forward Luis Suarez.
Madrid remain third in the table by recording their second consecutive win, the huge victory the perfect warm up for the second leg of their Champions League tie with Roma on Tuesday.
Before the match Zinedine Zidane called for the fans to get behind the team but many empty seats were visible in the Bernabeu, as were banners calling for Florentino Perez to resign.
Madrid made a stronger start but were vulnerable to Celta's counters, such as when Pepe dived in to prevent a through ball from Nolito leaving Aspas with just Keylor Navas to beat. The Costa Rican then produced an outstanding save to deny Aspas after the striker had headed a cross from Fabian Orellana on the left onto the bar
Madrid's first chances followed soon after, Ronaldo driving at Ruben, and then Isco lacking the power to beat the goalkeeper after turning a defender in the area.
Ronaldo was denied a penalty later in the half but Madrid went ahead before the break nonetheless, Pepe rising highest to meet Isco's outswinging corner and power a header past Ruben.
Ronaldo doubled Madrid's advantage early in the second half with the first of his four strikes. The Portuguese received a short pass from Sergio Ramos with plenty of space but well outside the area, and wrapped his right foot around the ball to send it spinning high into the net.
His next goal was of similar quality, curling the ball over the wall and into the top corner of the near post, scoring from a direct free-kick for the first time this season.
Celta pulled a goal back out of nowhere, the fruit of a long punt forward from Sergi Gomez into the path of Aspas, who had space and time to saunter into the box and calmly lift the ball over Navas.
But the Galians were back in the game for barely a minute. Lucas Vazquez released Isco on the left and the midfielder rolled the ball across the box for Ronaldo to tap home from close range and complete his treble.
The Portuguese was not finished yet, though, heading home Jese's corner to grab his fourth.
Provider then turned scorer as the substitute cut into the box from the left wing and shuffled across to his right foot to slam the ball into the near corner.
And there was still time for another substitute to get in on the act, Bale marking his return to action by racing forward on the break to the edge of the area and driving the ball low across goal and in off the far post.