Ronaldo 8/10, tallies two goals as rotated Madrid XI thrash Sevilla
Real Madrid thrashed Sevilla 5-0, thanks to a spectacular first-half showing at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Nacho opened the scoring in the third minute before Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated winning a fifth Ballon d'Or with a neatly taken goal. A clear handball by Jesus Navas granted the Portugal international the chance to double his tally from the penalty spot after 31 minutes. Toni Kroos and Achraf Hakimi both scored their first goals of the season to complete a five-star first half.
From there, Madrid eased back down through the gears in the second half with a frenetic fortnight to come.
Profligacy has been Real Madrid's main vice this season, but their performance against Sevilla was an exhibition of clinical finishing. Five goals from eight shots on target is a fine return.
Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, Casemiro and Dani Carvajal looked on from the stands with hats on and jackets zipped snugly up to the top. Madrid achieved victory with several key players unavailable, which is positive for two reasons. First, it shows that fringe players were able to step up to the required level. Second, it ensures important players will be fresh ahead of a busy end to 2017.
Let's not be churlish. The match went as well as Madrid could have hoped with the added bonus that it was sewn up by half-time.
Manager rating out of 10
9 -- Zinedine Zidane cobbled together a defence and made it coherent while also forming a solid midfield unit in the absence of Casemiro.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Keylor Navas, 7 -- Only had three saves to make. His presence was so peripheral that he would have been able to do these player ratings for me if he'd kept a laptop beside the goal.
DF Achraf Hakimi, 8 -- Scored his first senior goal for Real Madrid with a crisp finish into the bottom corner, providing the cherry on top of a rambunctious performance. He also made more tackles (5) than any other Madrid player.
DF Nacho, 9 -- Scored the opening goal and could have added a second on the brink of half-time. In the absence of more senior figures, the task of marshaling the defence fell to Nacho. He did so like a seasoned general, chaperoning his defensive companions through the match without putting a foot wrong himself.
DF Jesus Vallejo, 7 -- The 20-year-old covered well for Marcelo and Achraf, combining good mobility with astute positioning. A thoroughly impressive return from injury.
DF Marcelo, 8 -- Back to something approaching his buccaneering best. The Brazil international shaped a lovely cross for Karim Benzema in the second half, which resulted in the No. 9 glancing a header onto the woodwork.
MF Lucas Vazquez, 7 -- Displayed clever movement drifting in from the right. He is adept at finding pockets of space and has an intuitive sense of when to tuck inside, allowing the right-back to use the flank instead.
MF Luka Modric, 7 -- It's difficult to assign a number to Modric. He didn't do anything spectacular. But everything he did do, he did well.
MF Toni Kroos, 8 -- He cruised forward with graceful strides, always maintaining his head up. A one-two with Lucas and a cool finish. He often struggles to do destructive work when Casemiro is not playing, but it wasn't really necessary on this occasion.
MF Marco Asensio, 8 -- He found the eye of the needle with ease to set up Ronaldo for his first goal. The Mallorcan had more touches of the ball (96) and made more key passes (6) than any of his white-shirted companions. A fizzing performance.
FW Karim Benzema, 7 -- Deserved a goal to go alongside his skillful knitting together of the various threads in Real Madrid's attack.
FW Cristiano Ronaldo, 8 -- Back from Paris with a bang. The No.7 flaunted his five Ballons d'Or to the Bernabeu ahead of kick-off before turning in a golden performance. In just over 30 minutes, he equalled his goal tally from the previous 10 LaLiga matches.
MF Marcos Llorente, 7 -- It was a mild surprise that he did not start the match, given Casemiro's suspension. You know what you get with Llorente: an injection of intensity and tireless running.
MF Dani Ceballos, 6 -- Replaced Luka Modric and kept things ticking over.
MF Isco, NR -- Stretched his legs for 15 minutes once Ronaldo's work was done.
Matt McGinn is ESPN FC's Real Madrid blogger. Twitter: @McGinn93