Cristiano Ronaldo fires Real Madrid to cusp of title

But goals from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos secured the points for Real Madrid, taking them to within touching distance of their first league championship since the 2011/12 season. Los Blancos will only require a draw on Sunday at La Rosaleda to put themselves out of sight, following a midweek 4-1 victory over Celta Vigo in which Isco starred with two assists. Ronaldo: 367 goals, 460 games. We are going there to win the game, that is always the objective of this team.

Celta Vigo president Carlos Mourino has admitted his preference for Barcelona over La Liga rivals Real Madrid, whom he labelled "desperate" for attempting to have their league clash postponed. Zidane, though, played down there was an ulterior motive when tackled by the media, insisting the player was "with us" but had been nursing a "heavy blow" to his foot before adding: "We are only thinking about the three final (games) that we have got coming up".

And the Portugal star gave coach Zidane the thumbs up for his effective management of a squad which he believes has a good blend of youth and experience.

There was more controversy as Aspas walked after being shown a second yellow for diving in the box, and nearly immediately Celta claimed Ronaldo got away with doing similarly at the other end.

Ronaldo, like most players of his stature for club and country, doesn't get a whole lot of time off.

Picking up the ball in what seemed like a safe area Ronaldo looked up and fired an unstoppable left-footed drive into the back of Sergio Alvarez's net.

Playing alongside Benzema as part of a two-man attack, due to Isco's attacking midfield role, Ronaldo could hang around up top and wait for chances to come.

It was Ronaldo's 13th goal in his last eight matches, and 24th in league.

However, Portuguese striker Ronaldo, who had matched former Tottenham forward Greaves' achievement with his goal in the 4-1 thrashing of Sevilla, did not care and 10 minutes into Wednesday night's match he nudged the 77-year-old Englishman into second place.

"Such misses aren't normal for me", he said.

Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas was forced to punch clear a fizzing Daniel Wass free kick in the first half after which Aspas blasted into the side-netting, but Madrid controlled the game after the break once Ronaldo had increased their lead.

  • Julie Sanders