Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his recent Ballon d'Or award by scoring twice for the first time in a La Liga game this season as champions Real Madrid swept to a stunning 5-0 win over Sevilla on Saturday to go five points behind leaders Barcelona.
Real faced a crisis in defence with Raphael Varane, captain Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and holding midfielder Casemiro all unavailable but Zinedine Zidane's side produced a lethal attacking display, scoring all their goals before halftime.
Nacho Fernandez cashed in on a woeful attempted clearance from the visitors following a corner to put Real ahead in the third minute. Ronaldo sidefooted home a through ball from Marco Asensio to score the second in the 23rd.
Ronaldo, who had paraded his joint-record five Ballon d'Or trophies on the Santiago Bernabeu pitch before kick-off, then thumped in the third from the penalty spot, his kick proving too powerful for visiting goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
Toni Kroos scored the most impressive goal of the game by charging forward from his own half and playing a wall pass with Lucas Vazquez before stroking the ball beyond Rico, while 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi notched his first goal for Real in the 42nd minute to complete another lethal breakaway.
Real go third in the standings on 31 points, level with Valencia who host Celta Vigo, and five behind Barcelona, who visit Villarreal tomorrow.
Sevilla went into the game level on points with Real and after qualifying for the last-16 of the Champions League but they were blown apart and suffered their heaviest defeat of the season in all competitions.
Real, meanwhile, head off in confident mood to the United Arab Emirates to try and defend the Club World Cup title and will miss next week's domestic action.