Ronaldo looked like a man with a point to prove, and his fourth in the massacre was his 252nd La Liga goal, surpassing Telmo Zarra for second place in all-time La Liga scoring charts behind Lionel Messi (305).
With Barcelona a commanding 12 points ahead of Real coming in to this encounter, nothing other than three points would do for the men from the capital. And the pressure seemed to be getting to Zinedine Zidane’s men, who were lacklustre in the first half, and were fortunate not to go behind, as former Liverpool hitman Iago Aspas hit the woodwork from a few yards out.
Somewhat against the run of play, Pepe gave the hosts the lead, heading in from a right-wing corner – settling Real’s nerves, and they let loose after the break.
Ronaldo got his first of the afternoon in the 50th minute, and what a strike it was from 25-yards, with all the dip and swerve you’d want on an effort at goal.
The Portuguese wasn’t finished there. A beautifully flighted free-kick from Ronaldo put Real three goals to the good, before Isco squared for the goal machine to net his 14-minute hat-trick.
Aspas scored a delightful consolation that deserved better recognition in between Ronaldo’s second and third, as he cheekily lofted the ball over Keylor Navas.
The strike that moved Ronaldo into second in the all-time charts came from a header, before allowing others to get in on the act.
Substitute Jese scored a great solo goal for Real’s sxith, before Gareth Bale fired in with his left foot to complete the rout.
Barca may be well clear, but that result will do their confidence a world of good ahead of their midweek Champions League clash with Roma. All is not yet lost…