Ronaldo and Kaka, two of the world’s most expensive players, scored before the break, the second from the Brazilian a wonderful curling effort from outside the area.
Gustavo Manduca had the noisy travelling support in full song after he broke away to pull one back for APOEL in the 67th minute, but Ronaldo with a freekick and Jose Callejon quickly restored order at the Bernabeu.
Esteban Solari netted a penalty for the competition debutants but Angel Di Maria immediately lobbed a fifth for Real who eased into a semi-final meeting with Bayern Munich.
“Our objective has been achieved, we won, and we are in the semis against Bayern,” Ronaldo told Spanish television.
“Bayern will be very difficult. They are the type of team who can win the Champions League so it will be extremely tough.”
APOEL’s colourful and raucous fans were the most exciting part of the opening half hour as Real laid siege to their goal without making much headway.
Ronaldo had come close twice before he breached their defence in the 26th minute, tapping in from Marcelo’s low cross.
Kaka curled in a second from outside the area in the 37th minute and as halftime approached he curled another effort against the post.
Complacency crept into Real’s game and APOEL took full advantage, a well-worked passing move setting Manduca through to score wide of Iker Casillas.
Constantinos Charalambides forced Casillas into a fingertip save, but Ronaldo ended the wobble with a swerving freekick from wide of the area that arrowed into the top corner in the 75th.
Substitute Jose Callejon fired in a low shot five minutes later, but APOEL’s fans had more to cheer when Hamit Altintop brought down Aldo Adorno and Solari scored from the spot.
Di Maria rounded off the scoring in the 84th minute.
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