Ronaldo breaks record as Real run riot
Cristiano Ronaldo broke the single-season Spanish top flight scoring record and Emmanuel Adebayor struck a hat-trick as Real Madrid signed off their campaign with an emphatic 8-1 win over relegated Almeria this evening.
The Portuguese superstar needed less than five minutes to get his 39th La Liga goal of the campaign, claiming the outright record that he had previously jointly held with Real Madrid's Hugo Sanchez (1989/90) and the legendary Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra (1959/60). Ronaldo also added a second late on to take his tally to 11 in his last four games and finish the season with an astonishing 53 goals in all competitions.
Also, Adebayor did his hopes of securing a permanent move to Madrid no harm with a treble, while a Karim Benzema brace and a maiden goal for young substitute Joselu completed the scoring for Jose Mourinho's men. Almeria's goal came from Kalu Uche midway through the first half when his side were 2-0 down.
With Real certain to finish the season in second place and Almeria already down, all eyes were on Ronaldo to see if he could write his name into the history books. And there were just four minutes on the clock when the Portugal international achieved the feat. Xabi Alonso's free-kick to the far post was headed back across goal by Sergio Ramos, and the unmarked Ronaldo was on hand to poke in the opening goal of the game.
That set the tone for what would be another comprehensive victory for Madrid, who finished the season with 102 goals in La Liga - seven more than champions Barcelona. Mesut Ozil and Ronaldo both had openings before Adebayor made it 2-0 in the 31st minute. The on-loan Manchester City striker had been denied a great solo goal by Esteban Suarez moments previously, but he left the Almeria goalkeeper with no chance after latching on to a brilliant pass by Ozil before slotting in from close range.
It was not all one-way traffic early on however, and Almeria, who had gone close to taking the lead inside 20 seconds at the start of the game, pulled a goal back almost immediately. Real centre-back Pepe was unable to cut out Albert Crusat's deflected cross from the left, and Uche slid in at the far post to net past Jerzy Dudek, who was playing his final game for Los Merengues.
That looked to be only a minor setback for Real, especially when Benzema almost made it 3-1 soon after with an effort that Esteban tipped on to the bar, but Almeria gave the hosts another scare immediately after half-time when Miguel Angel Corona headed against the post.
However, there was only one team in it after that as Real moved up through the gears to leave Almeria just trying to limit the damage by the end. The Madrid heavyweights' third arrived soon after that Corona effort, when Benzema bundled his way through the heart of the Almeria defence before prodding home.
Two minutes after that it was 4-1 when Adebayor volleyed in the loose ball after Ronaldo, having skipped past Esteban, saw his goal-bound shot deflected onto the post by a covering defender. A brilliant Real move stretching from end of the pitch involving Ramos, Ronaldo and Adebayor then saw Benzema make it 5-1 in 63rd minute.
The floodgates were well and truly open by this stage and Adebayor and Ramos both went close with headers before the former completed his hat-trick in the 73rd minute from an Esteban Granero corner. Real's seventh arrived four minutes later through Ronaldo. The world's most expensive player picked up the ball on the halfway line and was allowed to progress unchallenged to the edge of the Almeria area, where he drilled a low shot into the far corner of the net.
Adebayor almost added another with an effort that hit the underside of the crossbar, before Real netted their eighth and final goal through Joselu. Ronaldo curled the ball into the area and the reserve-team youngster fired in as the capital team ended their first season under Mourinho in some style.