Slump? What slump? Tuesday saw Cristiano Ronaldo on fire as he netted four goals against Malmo in Real Madrid’s Champions League match, setting a new record. No one else has scored 10 goals in the Champions group stages.
Real Madrid went on to destroy the hapless Malmo, 8-0.
Whatever lit Ronaldo’s fire on the night worked. He showed the world and all the whisperers about his age and his supposed slowdown that it isn’t the case at all.
Now if only he could turn that kind of strike power on in all matches.
Poor Malmo, with shoddy goalkeeping and a paper-thin defense, didn’t know what hit them. It was the last match under the management of Norwegian coach Åge Hareide, who said ahead of the match that “Real Madrid are a leading name in the world of football – they play the best football in the world.” Hareide played for both Manchester City and Norwich and led Malmo to the Swedish title in 2014.
Hareide said that he didn’t “want to think of this as my last match with Malmo, just to see it as a normal game. It has been a fantastic journey for two years.”
What a defeat to go out on.
Real Madrid needn’t have hammered quite so fiercely on the Swedish side, as they were already assured of a leading spot in Group A. Ronaldo assisted on the first two goals from Karim Benzema within the opening 25 minutes. Benzema also found the net a third time for a hat trick—his first since 2010 for the royal whites. So that’s Benzema’s three, Ronaldo’s four, and one for Mateo Kovacic.
As journalist Phil Kitromilides tweeted, that was 12 shots on target Real Madrid, with 8 goals resulting.
12 shots on target tonight for Real Madrid. 8 goals.
— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) December 8, 2015
Several media outlets liked to post that the victory helps “ease the pressure” on Real coach Rafa Benitez, what with the humiliating 4-0 home loss to Barcelona and the embarrassing Copa del Rey disqualification for being sloppy with details and playing the ineligible Denis Cheryshev.
Maybe the win does ease the pressure, but we’ll need to see more of the same fire in league matches before we can quite hail Real Madrid as rediscovering their groove.