Madrid have postponed Barcelona's title party following a convincing 6-2 win over Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan
Real Madrid bounced back from the midweek Champions League elimination to hammer Sevilla 6-2, thanks to an inspired Cristiano Ronaldo who netted four times to add on to further goals from Sergio Ramos and Kaka.
The victory ensured that Barcelona would not be able to celebrate their third consecutive La Liga title this weekend when they host city rivals Espanyol on Sunday.
Los Blancos started the game at a high tempo, and were in possession of the ball for the majority of the first half. An early goal looked likely and the breakthrough should have arrived in the 10th minute when Karim Benzema missed a golden opportunity by heading wide from six yards after a wonderful cross from the right from Mesut Ozil.
Jose Mourinho's men eventually found the opening goal in the 20th minute when Sergio Ramos rose above the crowd in the box to power in a header from 10 yards after an Ozil corner.
The away side were on the ascendancy, and almost went 2-0 up in the 22nd minute when Cristiano Ronaldo headed the ball onto the post from a Xabi Alonso corner delivery.
But Ronaldo did double the lead for Madrid in the 30th minute when Marcelo clipped the ball to the back post for Pepe to head back across goal to CR7, who had time to take a touch and smash the ball in on the half volley.
Sevilla's only chance of the first half fell to Alvaro Negredo, who glanced the ball wide from the edge of the box.
Kaka grabbed the third goal in the 41st minute when Lassana Diarra won the ball in midfield and sent Ronaldo down the right hand side. The Portuguese cut in to the Brazilian who traded a pass with Ozil on the right to receive the ball just outside the box and beautifully curl his shot into the bottom right corner.
Back on top | Ronaldo scores four to move ahead in the Pichichi race
In front of a vibrant Ramos Sanchez Pizjuan crowd, Madrid began the second half at a slower tempo, and Sevilla started to see slightly more of the ball in midfield. This possession paid off on the hour mark when Negredo received the ball just outside of the box on the right hand side and lashed the ball into the bottom right corner past Iker Casillas.
The comeback for the home side was short lived however when Negredo made a loose pass across the Sevilla box which Ronaldo intercepted and went forward to lift the ball over the on-coming Javi Varas to make it 4-1.
Los Blancos made it five in the 70th minute when Ozil sent the ball through to Ronaldo, who had plenty of time to drive towards the Sevilla goal and pass the ball past Varas into the bottom corner.
Ronaldo then scored his fourth goal of the evening and his 33rd of the season in La Liga to overtake Lionel Messi in the Pichichi race. Ozil sent a diagonal pass across to Benzema who managed to dig out a pass on the byline to the Portuguese to easily tap the ball in at the far post.
Sevilla grabbed another consolation goal in the 84th minute when Negredo rose high above Arbeloa at the back post to power a header in the bottom corner after a corner kick from the right hand side.
Ronaldo spurned two excellent changes late on to add to his remarkable tally, but his four-goal haul was enough to inspire Madrid to victory and cut Barcelona's lead to just five points with three games to go in La Liga. Sevilla remain on 52 points and continue to fight for a European place next season.