Real Madrid pulled off a 4-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday as manager Zinedine Zidane lavished praise on his superstar winger Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese sensation scored a brace, effectively starting and ending the proceedings for Los Blancos. James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos got on the score sheet after Ronaldo’s 3rd minute opener, which was cancelled out by a 10th minute goal by Eraso Goni, but the winger wrapped things up with an 87th minute strike.
In a season where Ronaldo has sometimes been played in a more central role, Real manager Zinedine Zidane singled out his performance on the wing for praise.
“We went looking for that because, for me, Cristiano is very important on the wing,” Zizou told reporters after the match, according to fourfourtwo.com.
“He has speed and is very good one-on-one. In addition, Athletic are a very strong opponent and apply pressure all together. They do very well at putting pressure on one side but on the other there is more space.
“The idea was that Cristiano can get out on the wing and play quickly on the other side. That was the first goal – it is very complicated to defend against him.”
The win sees Real Madrid climb to the second spot on the La Liga table, a point behind Barcelona and two ahead of cross town rivals Atletico Madrid. This presents an inaccurate picture of the scenario though, as the Catalans have two more matches to play, and Atletico will be playing Getafe CF tomorrow as well.
The match helped Cristiano Ronaldo climb to the top of the league goalscorers list too. Ronaldo now has 21 goals, one ahead of Barcelona’s Luis Suarez and two ahead of teammate Karim Benzema. Suarez and Barcelona have the opportunity to take back their respective top spots on Sunday though, as they take on Celta Vigo on Monday.