Cristiano Ronaldo capped a successful week by leading Real Madrid to a 5-0 demolition of Sevilla in Saturday's LaLiga clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The 32-year-old, who on Thursday was announced as the winner of the Ballon d'Or for the fifth time in his career, scored twice in a devastating performance from the champions that saw them temporarily close to within five points of leaders Barcelona.
All five goals came in a breathtaking first half, in which Sevilla's defensive frailties were brutally exposed by a Madrid side who counter-attacked in clinical fashion to record a fifth league win at home in a row.
Nacho Fernandez opened the scoring in the third minute after Eduardo Berizzo's side failed to clear a corner, before Ronaldo put the champions in control with a composed finish and a penalty just after the half-hour mark to take his tally to 25 goals in 15 league games against the Andalusians.
Toni Kroos then scored for the first time in LaLiga since the opening-day win at Deportivo La Coruna after Ronaldo won back possession in his own half, before Achraf Hakimi got his first goal for the club four minutes later at the end of a spectacular half from Zinedine Zidane's side.
The victory sets up Madrid well for their Club World Cup exploits in the United Arab Emirates next week and sends a message to Barca ahead of the Clasico on December 23, while Ronaldo's showing will add weight to his sensational claim this week that he is the best footballer in history.
8 - @Cristiano and @Benzema have hit the woodwork more times (8 between them) than goals they have scored in La Liga (Cristiano 4 goals, 5 woodwork shots - Benzema 2 goals, 3 woodwork shots). Unlucky pic.twitter.com/P7vWtxZUrM— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 9, 2017
Sevilla had lost on their last eight visits to the Santiago Bernabeu and their ninth looked destined to be little better in only the third minute, with Nacho controlling a loose ball from a corner before firing past Sergio Rico.
A good spell of possession from the visitors ended with them being 2-0 down 23 minutes in. Marco Asensio broke forward and played in Ronaldo – who paraded his five Ballons d'Or to the crowd before kick-off – to slot home from just inside the area.
Ronaldo squeezed a penalty beneath Rico after 31 minutes following a foolish handball from Jesus Navas, and the Portugal star played a key role in Madrid's fourth, winning back possession near the halfway line and releasing Kroos, who combined expertly with Lucas Vazquez before dispatching a composed finish.
It got worse for Sevilla before the break, with Achraf racing onto Karim Benzema's pass and side-footing into the left-hand corner from the right side of the area, leaving Rico to stare shell-shocked at his defenders.
Sevilla tested Keylor Navas early in the second half, with Nolito and Luis Muriel both denied after finding good positions in the penalty area, before Benzema glanced a header off the inside of the right-hand post from a dipping Marcelo cross.
Zidane took the chance to give some much-needed minutes to substitutes Marcos Llorente and Dani Ceballos, and Ronaldo was surprisingly withdrawn for Isco with 15 minutes left, although he did not look too unhappy as he walked off to a deafening ovation from the home fans.
Madrid will now switch their attention to the Club World Cup, before they return to the capital for that huge showdown with Barca in two weeks' time.