In a week when a current Manchester United forward decided that remaining at Old Trafford was the preferable option after all, one of his former team-mates showed once again just what the club are missing.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who left United for the Bernabeu in an £80m deal last summer, scored four goals, two in each half, to help Real Madrid to a 6-1 victory over Racing Santander on Saturday. Gonzalo Higuain and Mesut Özil bookended Ronaldo's quartet of strikes as Jose Mourinho's side stretched their unbeaten league start to eight matches and moved ahead of Barcelona at the top of La Liga.
Real have now scored 16 times in three league games, with Ronaldo accounting for half of those, and the midfielder sits on top of the scoring charts with nine. "It's great to score four and help out but the main thing is the team," he said, before attempting to dampen the soaring expectations of Real supporters . "As the coach said the other day, we can't be too euphoric. There is still a long way to go in the season."
Higuain opened the scoring after 10 minutes before a double from Ronaldo made it 3-0 at the interval. He completed his hat-trick on 47 minutes and scored a fourth with a penalty eight minutes later before Ozil completed the scoring. Papa Kouli Diop scored Racing's consolation.
A double from Lionel Messi had earler helped Barcelona to a 2-0 success at Real Zaragoza, while Valencia lost 2-1 at home to Real Mallorca.
Real Madrid's six goals still fell some way short of events in the Netherlands, however, where Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven thrashed former European champions Feyenoord 10-0. Jonathan Reis scored a hat-trick and Jeremain Lens and Balazs Dzsudzsak both scored twice as Mario Been's side suffered their heaviest ever defeat. Ajax lost ground on PSV, coming from 2-0 down to salvage a point at Excelsior Rotterdam.
In Italy, goals from Sergio Floccari and Stefano Mauri helped Lazio overcome Cagliari 2-1 to remain top of Serie A. Second-placed Milan travel to Napoli tonight, with Ronaldinho joining Thiago Silva, Gianluca Zambrotta and Ignazio Abate on the sidelines. Roma's struggles continued with a goalless draw at bottom-of-the-table Parma.Reuse content