Sports Xtra

Real Madrid

Ronaldo grabs brace as Real Madrid ease past Sevilla

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid put in a sensational first-half performance to blow away Sevilla.

Real - only above fifth-placed Sevilla on goal difference before kick-off - led through Nacho's close-range effort.

Ronaldo had only scored two La Liga goals all season before converting Marco Asensio's through ball and then scoring a penalty.

Toni Kroos finished off a great move and set up Achraf Hakimi for the fifth.

With all the goals coming in the first half, Real eased up after the break and Sevilla never threatened any kind of comeback.

On Wednesday, Ronaldo scored in a 3-2 win against Borussia Dortmund to become the first player to score in all six Champions League group games in a season, netting nine in those six.

The next day, he won his fifth Ballon d'Or - the award for the best player in the world, taking him level with Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi's all-time record.

And on Friday, his manager Zinedine Zidane - himself the 1998 Ballon d'Or winner - said Ronaldo was the "best player in the history of football".

But in La Liga this season, he has struggled - scoring only twice in 10 league games - despite his free-scoring European exploits.

But those problems were forgotten on Saturday as he finished Asensio's brilliant pass and then scored a penalty - which squeezed under keeper Sergio Rico - after Jesus Navas' handball.

He even won the ball in his own half to set up the move for Kroos' fourth goal and had a hand in Hakimi's fifth.

Written by Gideon Sarpong

Ronaldo sets record in Real win

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score in all of his team's Champions League group matches in a season as the holders beat Borussia Dortmund.

Ronaldo bent in a fine strike from the edge of the area to score his ninth goal in the competition this season.

He has now scored 114 goals in the Champions League and is 17 ahead of Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.

Real have a 50% chance of facing a Premier League side in the last 16.

Zinedine Zidane's side - already guaranteed to be runners-up behind Tottenham - could face Roma, Besiktas, Paris St-Germain, Manchester City, Manchester United or Liverpool when the draw is made on Monday.

Written by Gideon Sarpong

CR7 earns a staggering £308,000 per Instagram photo

Cristiano Ronaldo earns a staggering £308,000 every time he posts a picture on Instagram, according to a new study.

The Real Madrid superstar has 116 million followers on the social networking site, which centres on sharing pictures and videos.

While Ronaldo’s feed mostly consists of pictures of his ever-growing family, the 32-year-old also shares a number of sponsored photos, promoting everything from a mobile phone and a protective case to a nutritional health drink.

And research by HopperHQ has now found that Ronaldo is the third highest-paid celebrity when it comes to sponsored photos, and the highest-earning male in the world.

Pop star Selena Gomez tops the list, earning £424,000 per post, while Kim Kardashian earns £385,000. The only other sports star on the list, basketball player LeBron James, rounds out the top 10, with an earning per post of £92,457. 

Written by Kelvin Agbanyo

Ronaldo, Benzema braces as Real Madrid rout Apoel Nicosia

Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored twice as Real Madrid ran out easy 6-0 winners over Group H bottom-dwellers Apoel Nicosia on Tuesday night to book a spot in the Champions League round of 16.

Luka Modric opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, smashing a volley from a poor Apoel clearance into the back of the net from 25 yards away.

Benzema netted his first after Toni Kroos played the French striker in with a fine through ball and he beat the hosts' goalkeeper at the far post.

Two minutes later Nacho poked home from close range following a corner kick, before Ronaldo unselfishly set Benzema up for an easy second goal on the night to send Madrid into the dressing room up 4-0.

And Ronaldo kept the onslaught going early in the second half heading home a Marcelo cross before chasing down a loose ball that had brought Apoel's keeper off the line and shooting first time from a difficult angle to give Madrid their fifth and sixth goals of the night.

The win sees Zinedine Zidane's team stay second in their group after Tottenham beat Borussia Dortmund to maintain their spot in first.

Written by Gideon Sarpong

Derby stalemate leaves Real Madrid 10 points behind Barca

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid slipped 10 points behind Barcelona at the top of La Liga as a Madrid derby short on chances finished 0-0 at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.

Earlier, Barca also weren’t at their best but Luis Suarez’s double ended a five-game goal drought for the Uruguayan and Paulinho’s late strike helped see off a determined Leganes 3-0.

Both Madrid sides suffered a familiar lack of cutting edge in front of goal this season, but it was Atletico who passed up the best chance when Angel Correa fired wide after just three minutes.

“We lacked a goal, but apart from that I feel for the players because they deserved more,” said Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

“10 points is a lot but that will change for sure because Barca will not always win and we will be in the running.”

After a bright start from Atletico, Real’s first chance came on the counter-attack but Juanfran outpaced Cristiano Ronaldo when the Portuguese was put clean through by Luka Modric much to the home crowd’s delight.

“In the first 25 minutes you saw the team we are against the best team in the world, who had the need to win after Barca’s win,” said Atletico boss Diego Simeone.

“We are finding it hard to score goals. If we score with Correa it would have changed the game completely.”

The visitors slowly started to take control of possession as the first period wore on, but lacked a creative spark.

Jan Oblak turned Toni Kroos’s effort behind at the near post after a neat one-two with Ronaldo, before Sergio Ramos was left bloodied and eventually replaced at half-time with a broken nose as he was caught by Lucas Hernandez as he stooped to head into the side-netting.

Ronaldo’s profligacy has been blamed for Real’s slump in form this season and the Portuguese was once again wayward with his side’s best chance as his tame effort from Modric’s pass dribbled wide.

Antoine Griezmann was jeered off after another underwhelming display 15 minutes from time.

“As long as someone is in my family, I am with them to the death,” added an irritated Simeone at the Frenchman’s treatment.

However, his replacement Kevin Gameiro nearly grabbed the winner when his lobbed effort was cleared off the line by Raphael Varane.

And at the other end, Ronaldo took just too long to wind up his effort as Hernandez galloped back into position to make a brave block in a frantic finale and ensure Atletico a share of the spoils.


Source: AFP

Written by Gideon Sarpong

CL: Sensational Spurs hit three past Real Madrid to reach last 16

Dele Alli scored twice as Tottenham overwhelmed European champions Real Madrid to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League.

It was Spurs' first victory over the Spanish giants in club competition and the visitors' first group-stage defeat in the Champions League since October 2012.

England midfielder Alli grabbed his first in the 27th minute when he converted Kieran Trippier's low cross from close range.

His second came after the break when he ventured into the area and fired a low shot that came off defender Sergio Ramos before beating keeper Kiko Casilla.

Christian Eriksen then capped a great night for the north London side when he slotted in after good combination work between Alli and Harry Kane on the counter-attack.

Alli should have completed his hat-trick, but he inexplicably headed wide Trippier's cross from six yards out.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real's big threat, had two strikes well held by Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris, before he fired in from six yards for his ninth goal of the season.

The visitors also went close through midfielder Casemiro, who had an effort pushed away by the France goalkeeper, while Ronaldo inadvertently blocked a goalbound strike by his team-mate Ramos.

One setback for Tottenham was the apparent hamstring injury suffered by defender Toby Alderweireld in the first half.

Written by Gideon Sarpong