Christiano Ronaldo was accused of suffering from anxiety last week by Real Madrid's sporting director Jorge Valdano. What better way to keep his critics quiet then, than with a coolly finished goal – his second in two games.
On a dreadfully cut-up playing surface at Espanyol, Ronaldo, having just come on as a late second-half substitute, galloped clear of the home defence on to Guti's pass before sliding the ball under Carlos Kameni's dive to wrap up Real's 3-0 win.
Coach Manuel Pellegrini celebrated the goal as if it had been a last-minute winner and the obvious relief reflected the fact that the former Manchester United winger will now be spared the scrutiny of his form and frame of mind, for another week at least.
"People are analysing Ronaldo too closely. He is adapting to a new league which takes time," Pellegrini said. Valdano admitted: "He has played two games and scored twice. He was a real presence for us when he came on. There was plenty of space for him to run into and he was impossible to contain."
Xabi Alonso set up Real's first with fine pass to Esteban Granero who played a one-two with Kaka before scoring. The Brazilian playmaker then created the second for Guti. Alonso said: "We have two wins now and we kept a clean sheet. The first half was very close but we got ourselves ahead and took control."
Everybody is talking about... Ibrahimovic
It is also two goals in two games for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who set up a second for Lionel Messi as Barcelona beat Getafe 2-0. "I am feeling better with every game," said the Swede. "When you play with great players everything is so much easier because the defenders don't know who to mark." That might not be the case on Wednesday in the Champions League against his old team Internazionale. After hinting he won the last two titles for the club on his own, Ibrahimovic's old team-mates have promised they will be "waiting for him" when he returns to San Siro.
Player of the week... Granero
He cost €90m less than Ronaldo but that didn't stop Esteban Granero starting ahead of the Portugal international against Espanyol. A product of Real Madrid's youth system he was sold to Getafe but bought back this summer. "The Pirate", as he is known by Real fans, was able to repeat his hand-over-one-eye goal celebration as he continued an impressive pre-season by scoring in the 3-0 win.Reuse content