Barcelona, Spain, Aug 29: Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick to lead Real Madrid to a 6-0 rout at Zaragoza to open the Spanish league season.
Jose Mourinho's team displayed the same verve in attack that led it to a second-place finish last season and made it practically unbeatable for any side other than Barcelona.
Ronaldo opened the scoring and Marcelo doubled Madrid's lead at La Romareda stadium before halftime.
Xabi Alonso then extended the lead midway into the second half before Ronaldo scored again, and Kaka came off the bench for a goal of his own and an assist for Ronaldo to cap the victory.
Madrid squandered numerous chances to add to the rout, while Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas was never troubled.
“Scoring six goals away from home is difficult,” Ronaldo said. “But the team is playing well and creating chances. I have to thank my teammates. We all win and lose together.”
Three-time defending champion Barcelona plays Villarreal Monday.
The scoring display could not have come at a better for a team once again criticized for its abrasive antics—above all those of its head coach—during the recent Spanish Supercup loss to archrival Barcelona.
Zaragoza goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez saved early tries by German midfielder Mesut Oezil and Karim Benzema and blocked a free kick by Ronaldo, but he could do nothing when the three combined for Madrid's 24th-minute opener.
The France striker robbed the ball in midfield and passed to Oezil, who calmly threaded an assist through the defensive line for a streaking Ronaldo to drive home.
Four minutes later Marcelo doubled the score when Ronaldo missed with an acrobatic bicycle kick and the ball fell to the Brazil defender to sweep into the right side of the net.
“We are in the same league but we had absolutely no chance,” Zaragoza coach Javier Aguirre said. “They beat us in every aspect, and I, as the coach, am responsible. I didn't do my job well.”
Ronaldo, who set the Spanish league scoring record with 40 goals last season, peppered Roberto's goalline with more dipping free kicks that the Spanish goalie did well to keep out.
Angel Di Maria and Benzema both missed clear chances to extend the lead right after halftime, but Alonso put the game beyond question in the 64th when his blast from well outside the area took a friendly deflection off a defender before skipping into the right corner of the net.
Zaragoza's defense then completely crumbled as Di Maria picked out Ronaldo striding through the area in the 71st for the Portuguese star to tap in.
Kaka added to the rout with a well-placed curling strike into the top corner in the 82nd and minutes later sent another cross behind the demoralized Zaragoza defense for a wide-open Ronaldo to complete his ninth hat trick since arriving at Madrid two summers ago.
“If we won by this score it is because we played well,” Mourinho said. “Zaragoza is a team with 10 new players, it has changed a lot and needs time. Roberto made good saves, in the six goals he couldn't have done anything better.”
Elsewhere, Sevilla beat Malaga 2-1, Atletico Madrid was held to a 0-0 draw by Osasuna, and Athletic Bilbao drew 1-1 with Rayo Vallecano.
Malaga spent around ¤60 million ($86 million) this summer to completely overhaul its squad into a European competitor, but Alvaro Negredo scored with a header in the second minute and a left-footed volley in the 26th to show that Manuel Pellegrini's team still needs to shore up its defense.
Former Villarreal playmaker Santi Cazorla pulled one back for Malaga in the 81st with a beautiful free kick into the top right corner.
Atletico created more chances throughout—hitting the woodwork twice—but missed the scoring touch of Diego Forlan and new signing Radamel Falcao as Osasuna held firm to split the points at Vicente Calderon stadium.
Uruguay striker Forlan was left out of the squad amid expectation he will soon sign with Inter Milan, while Falcao was unavailable due to a delay in his transfer from FC Porto.
Meanwhile in Bilbao, the Basques showed they still need time to assimilate coach Marcelo Bielsa's new possession-based attacking style.
In a glimpse of what the Argentine manager has in mind, Ander Iturraspe finished off an impressive team build up in the 56th, only to the 36-year-old Javi Movilla equalize for the promoted Rayo six minutes later.
Also, Mallorca beat Espanyol 1-0, and Levante drew 1-1 at Getafe. AP