Record breaker Ronaldo celebrates 40-goal haul

AFP, Saturday 21 May 2011

Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo broke the La Liga goal-scoring record with his 39th and 40th league goals of the season as Real Madrid hammered relegated Almeria 8-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Ronaldo new
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 40 goals

Ronaldo poked home from close range on four minutes for his record-breaking goal to overtake the previous best of 38 set by Athletic Bilbao's Telmo Zarra in 1951 and equalled by Real Madrid's Mexican legend Hugo Sanchez in 1990.

Ronaldo struck again on 77 minutes with a brilliant run and finish to make it 40 league goals for the season and seal his first ever Pichichi award for the league's top-scorer.

It caps a fantastic season from the Portuguese sensation although he has just the Kings Cup trophy to show for his two seasons at Madrid.

Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor, trying to persuade Real to make his loan move from Manchester City permanent, grabbed his first ever Madrid hat-trick and Frenchman Karim Benzema scored a brace as Real crushed hapless Almeria and went past a century of league goals this season.

League runners-up Real had nothing to play for but helped Ronaldo achieve his personal mission with Sergio Ramos heading across goal and Ronaldo sliding home his historic goal from close range.

On the half hour mark Madrid grabbed a second with Ronaldo feeding Adebayor who finished easily in what could be his last game for the club.

Adebayor underlined his desire to stay in the Spanish capital, scoring twice (51, 73) in the second half to complete his treble.

Frenchman Benzema grabbed a brace on 47 and 63 minutes to take his season's tally to 15 in the league as Real ran riot and 21-year-old substitute Joselu netted an eighth goal on 87 minutes as Almeria underlined why they were relegated.

Champions Barcelona ended their stellar league campaign with a 3-1 win at Malaga on Saturday in a timely warm-up for next week's Champions League final against Manchester United.

With the league already wrapped up, Barcelona have their eyes firmly on the double and the Wembley final against Manchester United, and coach Pep Guardiola rested his array of Spanish World Cup stars and Ballon D'Or winner Lionel Messi.

"We are focused on the final and we have everyone available including (Gaby) Milito who will be back," said Guardiola. "We will see what Manchester United do and we will work on getting mentally right to try and stop them."

Malaga took a 31st-minute lead but Barcelona's collection of youngsters and fringe players came back with a 43rd minute Bojan Krkic penalty equalising before Dutchman Ibrahim Afellay (75) and 20-year-old Marc Bartra (84) scored their first league goals for the club.

The win brought the curtain down on a fine season that has yielded their third successive league title and there is still the Champions League final to come.

At the wrong end of the table six teams battle for survival on the final day of the season.

Hercules and Almeria are already relegated and as it stands, Real Zaragoza will join them, lying third from bottom and needing to win at promoted Levante on Saturday to beat the drop.

Getafe are just one point above Zaragoza and travel to Real Sociedad on Saturday in a relegation nail-biter.

Promoted Sociedad need a point to avoid a swift return to the second division.

Osasuna and Real Mallorca, who are both two points above the relegation zone, are in danger along with fallen giants Deportivo La Coruna with the 2000 league champions one point above the bottom three.

Elsewhere Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid jostle for the right to avoid a place in the Europa League qualifying rounds.

The trio are locked on 55 points and have all qualified for the Europa League as one extra place is assigned to the league due to Barcelona and Madrid contesting the Kings Cup final.

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