Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d'Or celebrates as record-equalling Madrid cruise

The Portuguese was honoured by previous Ballon d'Or winners to have played for Madrid before kick-off.

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Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo poses with his four Ballon d'Or before the Spanish league football match against Granada FC on January 7, 2017 play

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo poses with his four Ballon d'Or before the Spanish league football match against Granada FC on January 7, 2017

(AFP)
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Cristiano Ronaldo paraded his fourth Ballon d'Or and powered home his first goal of 2017 as Real Madrid equalled Barcelona's Spanish record 39-game unbeaten run with a 5-0 demolition of lowly Granada on Saturday.

The Portuguese was honoured by previous Ballon d'Or winners to have played for Madrid including Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Michael Owen and his coach Zinedine Zidane before kick-off.

And Real's relentless run stretching back to April last year continued once the action got underway as they scored four in the opening half-hour.

Isco and Karim Benzema slotted home from close range before Ronaldo, who had been rested for Real's 3-0 Copa del Rey win over Sevilla in midweek, bulleted home a header from Marcelo's cross.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (left) in action during the Spanish league match against Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on January 7, 2017 play

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (left) in action during the Spanish league match against Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on January 7, 2017

(AFP)

Another simple finish from Isco made it four before the break and Casemiro turned home James Rodriguez's free-kick for the fifth after half-time.

Defeat leaves Granada firmly rooted in the relegation zone with just nine points from 17 games.

At the top, Barca can close back to within three points of the leaders with victory at Villarreal on Sunday.

"There is no limit, but on the other hand we have to do everything possible to make sure it lasts," Zidane said of his side's stunning form.

Zidane insisted on Friday that he is keen to keep Ronaldo fresh with Real facing a heavily congested fixture list between now and the end of the season.

Real Madrid's Isco (left) scores during the Spanish league match against Granada FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on January 7, 2017 play

Real Madrid's Isco (left) scores during the Spanish league match against Granada FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on January 7, 2017

(AFP)

The Frenchman made four changes from the side that saw off Sevilla with ease in midweek with Keylor Navas returning in goal and all of Ronaldo, Benzema and Isco coming in up front.

Once again Zidane was vindicated as all three of the frontline scored in a rapid start.

Fast start

The hosts got a break for the opener as Isco could have been penalised for a trip on Sergi Samper before he exchanged passes with Benzema and slotted low past Guillermo Ochoa.

Former French footballer Raymond Kopa (right) stands next to Cristiano Ronaldo as Real Madrid honour their previous Ballon d'Or winners during a ceremony at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on January 7, 2017 play

Former French footballer Raymond Kopa (right) stands next to Cristiano Ronaldo as Real Madrid honour their previous Ballon d'Or winners during a ceremony at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on January 7, 2017

(AFP)

Madrid were also fortunate for the second as Benzema appeared offside when he prodded into an empty net after Ochoa tamely parried Luka Modric's shot into his path.

Real captain for the day Marcelo marked the 10-year anniversary since his debut with a pinpoint cross from which Ronaldo powered home his 17th goal of the season.

And with the Granada defence once again pulled apart by Madrid's movement, Modric's low cross found an unmarked Isco for a simple finish at the back post for his second of the afternoon.

"The matches are prepared in a certain way depending on whether we have two, three or four days, but the idea is always to do our best, be physically ready and concentrated," added Zidane.

"If we are ready and concentrated we can do great things."

Real Madrid demolished Granada 5-0 during their Spanish league match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on January 7, 2017 play

Real Madrid demolished Granada 5-0 during their Spanish league match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on January 7, 2017

(AFP)

Madrid understandably eased off in the second half with the possibility of another 19 games to come in the next two months as Toni Kroos, Isco and Marcelo were replaced to hand them some extra rest.

However, the European champions did net a fifth just before the hour mark when Casemiro was left unmarked to bundle home substitute James Rodriguez's free-kick at the back post.

Ronaldo is expected to pick up another individual trophy in FIFA's inaugural The Best award for 2016, but one of his rivals for the prize ended a three-month goal drought in La Liga as Antoine Griezmann sealed Atletico Madrid's 2-0 win at Eibar.

Atletico Madrid's players celebrate after midfielder Saul Niguez scored his team's first goal during the Spanish league football match SD Eibar vs Club Atletico de Madrid at the Ipurua stadium in Eibar on January 7, 2017 play

Atletico Madrid's players celebrate after midfielder Saul Niguez scored his team's first goal during the Spanish league football match SD Eibar vs Club Atletico de Madrid at the Ipurua stadium in Eibar on January 7, 2017

(AFP)

After a first-half short on goal mouth action, Saul Niguez nodded Atletico in front eight minutes after the break.

Griezmann hadn't netted in 821 La Liga minutes since October 2, but bundled home from close range after a one-two with Kevin Gameiro 16 minutes from time.

Victory moves Atletico up to fourth, but they remain nine points adrift of Real having also played a game more.

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