Champions League: Cristiano Ronaldo returns as Real Madrid defeat APOEL Nicosia 3 – 0

Cristiano Ronaldo scores for Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo scores for Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo has certainly not lost his goal scoring touch as he serves his five-match domestic ban.

Real Madrid have been without their star man so far in La Liga this season following his ban for shoving the referee in the Spanish Super Cup — and they have stumbled to successive home draws.

However, it took the former Manchester United man just 12 minutes to get himself back among the goals.

Gareth Bale played in a delicious ball, with the four-time Ballon d’Or-winner tucked home to extend his side’s consecutive scoring run to 72 games — one behind Santos‘ record.

There was one major negative in the first half as Mateo Kovacic was forced off with what looked like a serious injury in the 25th minute and Zinedine Zidane showed off the strength of his squad by toying with bringing on either Casemiro or Toni Kroos, before eventually selecting the latter.

Despite being one of the lowest ranked sides and facing the tournament favourites, APOEL proved a much firmer test than many had anticipated for Real Madrid and Ronaldo was guilty of a string of misses.

His worst came on 47 minutes when, presented with an opportunity inside the six-yard box, he smashed his effort against the crossbar — and his appeals the ball had crossed the line fell on deaf ears.

However, he only had to wait three more minutes for another opportunity when he was brought down inside the box.

Ronaldo dusted himself down to finish off from the spot and add a little more gloss to the scoreline and make it 92 goals in 89 Champions League games in the famous white shirt.

From then on, it was a case of how many Real Madrid would score — and whether Los Blancos’ No 7 would get his hands on the match ball.

A third goal came just after the hour mark, but it wasn’t Ronaldo.

Sergio Ramos got in on the act with an acrobatic finish.

The central defender — as in a player who plays in defence — made it an incredible 69 goals for Real Madrid with a superb overhead kick.

There was also time for a nice moment for Bale who, despite once again failing to score, went off to a round of applause by the Bernabeu faithful on 81 minutes.

Ronaldo thought he’d got his hat-trick late on, but his eagerness to net the treble saw him twice have the ball in the back of the net — only for both to be rightly ruled out for offside.

And Borja Mayoral scored with the last kick of the game, but Ronaldo was offside in build up, and another strike was chalked off.

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