Ronaldo nets four as Real Madrid rout Celta Vigo

Cristiano Ronaldo scored four second-half goals in Real Madrid’s 7-1 thrashing of Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

Gareth Bale marked his return from a hamstring injury by scoring in his first appearance in 50 days, while Pepe and Jese also got on the scoresheet for the Merengues.

Iago Aspas got Celta’s only goal in their worst defeat of the season, but the afternoon really belonged to Ronaldo, who moved on to 26 Primera Division goals for the season, one ahead of Barcelona forward Luis Suarez.

The Portugal skipper’s haul gave him 252 career goals according to the league, surpassing Telmo Zarra’s mark of 251 goals that had stood as a record until Barcelona star Lionel Messi passed that milestone in 2014. Messi’s hat trick in a 5-1 win at Rayo Vallecano on Thursday took his leading tally to 305.

Madrid’s big win over sixth-place Celta came at a perfect time, as Madrid was jeered by the same Santiago Bernabeu Stadium fans the previous weekend after a 1-0 loss to Atletico.

That defeat ended with Ronaldo criticising his teammates, opening the first squad crisis that Zinedine Zidane had to publicly quell.

“Nobody can doubt Cristiano,” said Madrid forward Lucas Vazquez, who started along with 18-year-old striker Borja Mayoral in place of the injured Karim Benzema.

“You have to congratulate him. Today there wasn’t any friction and I didn’t hear any jeers.”