MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid showed they remain a potent force on Sunday as their reunited attacking trident steered them to an emphatic home victory that belied the reigning champions’ lowly fourth place in La Liga, 19 points behind leaders Barcelona.
Zinedine Zidane’s side had been unable to deploy Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema on the pitch at the same time since last April, largely because of injuries and suspensions. But with Bale and Ronaldo starting and Benzema joining the action from the bench in the 64th minute, the trio helped Real to a 7-1 thrashing of Deportivo La Coruna.
Bale and Ronaldo struck two goals each as Madrid recorded their first league win since Dec. 9, with defender Nacho also bagging a brace and Luka Modric firing home from distance.
For the first time in weeks the Madrid attack looked energised and dangerous and, though their hopes of retaining the title are all but over, they showed they are still a threat in the King’s Cup and the Champions League.
The Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo connection could be crucial to the side salvaging some silverware from what has been a disappointing season by their standards.
“They are three players that have produced great things in the past,” said Zidane.
“We haven’t seen them performing together all that many times this season but when they do play they inject real energy into the rest of the players.”
Despite the team’s success, Benzema was whistled and jeered by some home fans on his return from injury.
Though not responsible for the team’s recent results, Benzema has managed only two goals in 13 appearances.
“I‘m concerned by the fact that coming on and being jeered is something that affects him, but I head home thinking about the positives of the performance,” said Zidane.
“What we have to do is win games to stop it happening.”
The only other blemish on a superb afternoon’s work was a nasty cut for Ronaldo, whose face was left covered in blood after clashing with Deportivo’s Fabian Schar.
“He has been given two or three stitches,” added Zidane. “He’s all right.”
Editing by David Goodman