Cristiano Ronaldo was honoured by Real Madrid at the Bernabeu yesterday in a ceremony to mark the Ballon d’Or award he earned last month for world player of the year – the fourth Golden Ball he has won.
Former Madrid players who won similar awards participated, including Luis Figo, Brazilian striker Ronaldo, and Real coach Zinedine Zidane.
Cristiano Ronaldo then went on to help Real Madrid tie Barcelona’s Spanish record of 39 games unbeaten in all competitions by crushing Granada 5-0. Francisco “Isco” Alarcon scored twice and Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Casemiro also scored. Madrid are six points ahead of second-placed Barcelona, who play fifth-placed Villarreal today.
Ronaldo, who was rested in Madrid’s 3-0 first-leg win against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, scored with a close-range header off a cross by Marcelo. “It was important to begin the year like this,” Zidane said. “We have to keep this pace the rest of the year.”
Madrid’s last setback was a 2-0 loss at Wolfsburg in the quarter-final first leg of the Champions League in April. Since then, they have won 30 games and drawn nine under Zidane, a run that included three titles.
Zidane, who has lost only twice since taking over at Madrid a year ago, had already matched the club record of 34 games without a defeat set in 1989 under coach Leo Beenhakker.
The Spanish unbeaten record set by Luis Enrique’s Barcelona last season ended with a loss to Madrid at Camp Nou in April.
“It gives us great satisfaction to equal this record,” Zidane said. “We have no limits and we will do everything possible to keep this going.”
Madrid, who have won eight of their last nine league games, will have a chance to take the record outright in the second leg of their Copa del Rey tie at Sevilla on Thursday.
Real won the first leg 3-0 at the Bernabeu last week.