MADRID, December 21 – Cristiano Ronaldo, the world's most expensive footballer, believes Real Madrid are perfectly-placed to snatch the Spanish title from bitter rivals Barcelona.The Portuguese star scored a memorable goal in Real’s 6-0 demolition of Real Zaragoza as his side closed the gap to leaders Barcelona to just two points ahead of the winter break.
"I’m working well and I want to carry on this way until the end of the season. I’m doing better every day. I missed two months and coming back was difficult, but things are working out for me," Ronaldo told the club’s official website.
"It was important to seal the year with a victory, so we are happy about that. We must now think of the New Year, which we should start as well as we’ve ended this one."
While Barcelona were away in Abu Dhabi winning the Club World Cup, their sixth trophy this year, Real demonstrated their championship credentials by making light work of Zaragoza.
Rafael Van der Vaart and Gonzalo Higuain both got two each even before the interval.
Then Ronaldo, returning after a one-match suspension, teased the Zaragoza defence before adding the fifth and substitute Karim Benzema wrapped up the scoring with 20 minutes to go.
On Sunday, Champions League hopefuls Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia battled to a drab 0-0 stalemate.
A victory at the Riazor would have put Valencia in third place, behind Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Deportivo also had the chance to move into the top four, but the game failed to live up to its billing.
Depor shaded the match thanks in part to the excellent Juan Carlos Valeron but Valencia’s strong organisation made them difficult to break down.
The best chances fell to Adrian Lopez and Sergio Gonzalez while Valeron himself came closest ending the deadlock with a header which came back off the crossbar before half time.
Valencia stay in fourth spot, 10 points behind leaders Barcelona while Deportivo are sixth, 12 points off the top.
"The result was right and I am happy with the team and their attitude against a top side. On top of that we had two or three opportunities to score which they did not have," said Depor coach Miguel Angel Lotina.
Valencia coach Unai Emery was also pleased with the point.
"We have come through an important week following the defeat by (Real) Madrid. We beat Genoa in the Europa League and now we have achieved the main aim against Deportivo which was not to lose," he said.
Atletico Madrid continued their disappointing run with a 1-1 draw at Tenerife, a result of little benefit to the relegation-threatened sides.
Juan ‘Nino’ Martinez put Tenerife ahead after three minutes, converting a knockdown by Alejandro Alfaro, but Jose Jurado equalised for Atletico, who were without their talismanic striker Sergio Aguero through injury.
Nino missed several chances to give Tenerife victory, none better than a penalty before half-time which goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo parried well.
Mallorca failed to consolidate their place among the candidates for a place in Europe after crashing 2-1 against lowly Malaga.
Fernando Fernandez seized on a loose ball in the area to score after 23 minutes but Mallorca equalised through Julio Alvarez and were in the ascendancy when Malaga, who had not won since the first week of the season, struck again with Fernando Forestieri heading home.
Villarreal continued their upward march with a 2-0 win over Racing Santander, their third victory in succession.
The home side dominated the game but did not make their advantage pay until the second half with goals from Joseba Llorente and Giuseppe Rossi.
Espanyol registered their first goals in five games to beat Almeria 2-0 whose coach Hugo Sanchez was sacked in the aftermath.
In his first match in the starting line-up Javi Marquez scored after 45 minutes and Ferran Corominas made sure of the win with a second goal late on.
A last-minute strike by Haris Medunjanin gave Valladolid a 2-1 victory at home to Sporting Gijon.
Nivaldo Batista cancelled out a goal from the visitors by Luis Moran and the winner from Medunjanin was no more than Valladolid deserved, having squandered a number of gilt-edged chances.