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The Portuguese superstar was among the scorers as Manuel Pellegrini's men hammered the tiny promoted side...


Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice to guide Real Madrid to a thumping 5-0 win over Xerez, to leapfrog Barcelona and go top of the Primera Division table.

Ronaldo netted inside the first minute and added a second with twenty minutes remaining, before a late deluge saw Guti, Karim Benzema and a returning Rudd Van Nistelrooy ensured an emphatic scoreline and left Xerez rooted to the foot of the division.

Xerez’s resistance last a mere 47 seconds, and it was in-form Cristiano Ronaldo who edged Los Blancos ahead. He used all of his lightning pace to drift in from the wing and slot the ball past Renan and give the promoted side a nightmare start in the cauldron that is the Bernabeu.

At that point, the home support could have been forgiven for thinking about how many they would win by, but to Xerez’s credit they managed to settle into the encounter.

They have a pass and move philosophy, and refused to let going behind alter their approach to the match, but has their goalkeeper to thank for keeping them in the contest with an inspired double stop.

Ronaldo, who looked dangerous all evening, cut inside from the left and unleashed a shot that Renan saved well, but his block from Raul on the rebound was even better, and Madrid ended the half frustrated that they had only a goal advantage.

In the second half, Xerez enjoyed spells of possession, but had little invention in the final third, and although Real Madrid continued to look susceptible at set pieces, they tiny side from Southern Spain never looked likely to equalise.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side were far from rampant, but towards the end managed a quick-fire glut of goals to add a shine of conviction to the scoreline.

Firstly, it was Ronaldo, leaping highest from a corner kick to head beautifully past Renan, and make it six goals in four matches for the former Manchester United man.

Moments later, the same player was in hunt of his hat-trick, but his scuffed shot landed perfectly for Guti, and the playmaker, who appears rejuvenated under his new coach, smashed the ball home, leaving Renan helpless.

But the scoring didn’t stop there, and a relieved Karim Benzema scored his first competitive goal in the white of Real Madrid. He shimmied on the edge of the area, before rifling a deflected shot past a now demoralised Renan.

The bigger cheer of the evening was reserved for Ruud van Nistelrooy, who banished ten months of injury woes by sliding the ball through Renan's legs to round off an excellent night's work for Manuel Pellegrini's side.

Xerez had folded, but can be pleased by their efforts up until their late capitulation, while Real Madrid answered back to rivals Barcelona’s humbling of Atletico Madrid on Saturday night with a convincing win of their own.

Paul Macdonald, Goal.com

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