Isco shines, Ronaldo scores again as Real Madrid equal record
Real Madrid strolled to a 5-0 victory over a poor Granada side in a game that was wrapped up after half an hour in the Bernabeu. Isco (2), Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro provided the goals as manager Zinedine Zidane's side opened up a six-point Liga lead over Barcelona with a game in hand, while also equalling the Spanish record of 39 games unbeaten held by Luis Enrique's side.
Madrid have come out firing after the winter break and have hit eight without reply in their opening two matches of the year. Zidane's rotation policy continues to tick over effectively, and now every outfield player used this season (bar Fabio Coentrao) has scored across the four competitions. Granada were more than accommodating, but Real killed off the game in ruthless fashion.
None to speak of, as Real limited the visitors to a single shot on target. Isco went off with a knock in the second half but it didn't appear to be anything more than that.
Manager rating out of 10
9 -- Zidane worked his plan to perfection. Real swamped Granada in their own half for the opening 45, went ahead early and were able to take their foot off the pedal in the second period as the coach used his squad to keep players fresh and available for the double-header against Sevilla.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Keylor Navas, 6 -- Had nothing to do all afternoon but was alert to come off his line in the 89th minute to thwart a Granada opportunity. He won't get many easier clean sheets this season.
DF Dani Carvajal, 7 -- The full-back lacked precision early on in the opposition half but was equal to what little threat Granada provided as they targeted his flank and became more dangerous going forward as the visitors' resistance crumbled.
DF Raphael Varane, 7 -- A very quiet afternoon for: one tackle and two headed clearances were about all he was called on to provide.
DF Nacho, 7 -- Like his partner, just two tackles and one aerial clearance were required at the back, allowing Nacho to get forward and contribute to the suffocating pressure at the other end.
DF Marcelo, 8 -- Exactly a decade after his debut as an 18-year-old in 2007, Marcelo ran amok on the left with a few flicks and tricks and assisted Ronaldo's goal, going off to a huge ovation after a wonderful display.
MF Casemiro, 9 -- A cracking sliding tackle to recover possession in Granada's half after the break epitomised the Brazilian's game. He was everywhere, stuck in nine tackles -- six more than any player on the pitch -- and scored his first of the season to round off an excellent performance.
MF Toni Kroos, 7 -- Neat in possession and kept the ball moving around from the base of midfield. He was substituted at half time as he is on four yellows with Sevilla in mind, but his work was done by then.
MF Luka Modric, 8 -- Assisted the fourth and thoroughly enjoyed himself in a more advanced role, from where he was unlucky not to get on the score sheet but provided all manner of headaches for the Granada defence.
FW Isco, 9 -- Opened the scoring with a low drive on 11 minutes after making a great tackle to launch the move and added the fourth with a tap-in from Modric's pinpoint cross. He was perhaps unfortunate not to earn a first senior hat trick with Guillermo Ochoa tipping his curling effort around the post and missed a free header with his final touch of the game.
FW Karim Benzema, 8 -- The No.9 assisted the first and bagged the second on the follow-up from Modric's shot. He was offside, but they all count and Benzema hadn't scored in the league since October. Linked up the midfield and the front line well.
FW Cristiano Ronaldo, 7 -- Added the third with a close-range header but inexplicably failed to bury a good James Rodriguez free kick on 73 minutes when he was completely unmarked. He had a few chances to add to his tally but only managed to hit the target twice over the 90 minutes.
MF James Rodriguez, 7 -- On for Kroos at half-time, James started where he left off against Sevilla. The Colombian put in several good crosses, assisted Casemiro's goal and had a couple of chances himself.
MF Marco Asensio, 6 -- On for Isco on 48 minutes, by then the game was sewn up and Real's intensity had dropped, giving the youngster little chance to shine. He was full of running though.
DF Fabio Coentrao, N/R -- On for Marcelo for his first Liga appearance of the season, Coentrao looks to be getting back to match fitness after his injury setbacks and was neat in possession.
Rob Train covers Real Madrid and the Spanish national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Cafc13Rob.