On a brilliant Easter Sunday at Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid fans got berserk, when they were treated to some charismatic display from the world’s best football player, who is one of their own. It wasn’t, otherwise, a great occasion but just a league game against another La Liga side Granada. But the visitors suffered their worst ever defeat against Real Madrid, going down 1-9, when they were completely outplayed as the screeching supporters had one of their best times in a home game. This was the first time Cristiano Ronaldo has scored five goals in one match playing for Real Madrid. He scored a hat-trick as well to tie with Di Alfredo Stefano, who had 28 hat-tricks against his name in Real Madrid’s football history. On Sunday, James Rodriguez made his comeback from a metatarsal injury that kept him out of action for the last few months. Playing on the left side of Real’s midfield, James was immediately effective in providing an apt balance to the side and being instrumental in two assists. After Gareth Bale opened the scoring in the 27th minute, Ronaldo took over and scored in 33rd, 40th and 42nd minutes to complete a hat-trick and scored two more goals in 57th and 89th minutes. Other goals came through Karim Benzema in 54th and 59th minutes and Granada’s Mainz contributed with an own goal. The consolation goal from Granada came from Ibanez in the 74th minute. With a goal-burst achieved in a single match, Ronaldo stole a march on Lionel Messi for the Pichichi.
Granada are one of the weakest sides in La Liga but even they didn’t expect such runaway loss. Real Madrid looked strong from the start with Karim Benzema making a great effort in the 9th minute from a cross sent by James but the Granada goalkeeper was up to the task in saving the goal. Six minutes later, Real gave the ball away loosely and Granada came close to taking a surprise lead, when Ibanez had a chance from a side-footed shot but the ball went wide. In the 23rd minute, Real Madrid missed a sitter, when Arbeloa had just the empty goal in front of him after he received a cross from Marcelo. But instead of side-footing the ball, Arbeloa used outside of his foot and missed a certain chance. Real Madrid’s first goal in the 25th minute was a typical stamp of Gareth Bale, who broke into a run with he received a ball from Kroos. The Welshman didn’t stop until he went round the goalkeeper and tapped an easy goal into the net.
Bale’s first goal opened the floodgates as Ronaldo began his goal-scoring spree. The first one came in the 33rd minute from a curling right-footed shot that found the far corner. Seven minutes later, Ronaldo found the target from a six-yard shot after Marcelo sent a cross to him. In the 42nd minute, the Portuguese completed his hat-trick, when the Granada goalkeeper goofed with Ronaldo’s 20-yard shot. In between, Granada found a chance as well at the stroke of halftime. But an incredible strike from El-Arabi smashed on to the bar with Casillas completely beaten.
After the break, Real Madrid continued with the rout as Benzema took a corner-kick on his chest and drove in style to make it 5-0 for Real in the 54th minute. Three minutes later, Ronaldo scored his fourth goal from a cross sent to him by Bale. In 59th minute, Benzema showed his chest play yet again and used a deflection to score his second goal and Real’s 7th. Ronaldo should have scored another in 68th minute, when he latched on to a through ball from Gareth Bale and shot from a close range but this time the Granada goalkeeper saved brilliantly. One minute later, Bale almost scored his second goal but his superb free-kick could only find the side netting. For the second time in the match Marcelo was disappointed that someone couldn’t use his perfect cross. Arbeloa had done that in the 23rd minute and now it was the turn of Hernandez, who headed weakly to the goalkeeper. Even Ronaldo missed a sitter one minute later as he shot wide, when Bale sent him another lovely pass. Then Granada got their consolation goal, when Ibanez broke through the Real defense and squeezed a shot underneath Casillas. Real were gifted a goal by Granada in the 83rd minute, when Mianz made an attempt to intercept a Marcelo cross meant for Ronaldo but the ball got deflected into his own net. Just as the final hooter was about to go off, Ronaldo scored his fifth goal of the match from a header at the far post from a free-kick taken by Modric.
It was rout of extraordinary proportion as Granada defense went in complete shambles and Real Madrid showered them with goal after goal. Ronaldo was ripe for at least two more but that would have made the score-line too shameful for Granada. All talks about Ronaldo’s dwindling form were laid to rest after he came up with a scintillating performance even if it came up against the La Liga side, which is at 19th place in the 20-team Spanish league.
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