Gareth Bale staked a claim for a Champions League final place with a first-half brace in Real Madrid’s 6-0 rout of Celta Vigo.
Bale made it seven goals in his last nine Real games – the second against Celta was a stunning individual effort – to boost his hopes of starting for the European champions against Liverpool in Kiev on May 26.
Isco, Achraf Hakimi and Toni Kroos were also on the scoresheet, while Sergi Gomez put through his own net as Real took the race for second spot into the final set of LaLiga fixtures.
Stepped out of the shadow of the injured Cristiano Ronaldo to show his talents. Free from injury, he is in great form with seven goals in his last nine Real appearances and surely winning the battle to start in the Champions League final.
Bale produced a moment to remember with his second goal after 30 minutes. Racing onto Isco’s pass, he flicked the ball one side of Jonny, ran round the other side of the bemused defender, and then hit a venomous left-footed shot which left goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez grasping thin air.
This emphatic victory was the seventh time that Real have scored five or more this season. Five of those games have come since the turn of the year, including their biggest win – 7-1 at home to Deportivo La Coruna in January – to keep them on the heels of second-placed Atletico.
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas 7; Achraf Hakimi 8, Rafael Varane 7, Nacho 7, Marcelo 7, Casemiro 7, Luka Modric 8, Toni Kroos 7, Isco 8, Karim Benzema 7, Gareth Bale 9. Subs: Borja Mayoral (for Benzema, 64) 6, Marco Asensio (for Isco, 64) 7, Lucas Vasquez (for Bale, 71) 6.
Celta Vigo: Sergio Alvarez 7, Hugo Mallo 6, Jonny 6, Sergi Gomez 5, Facundo Roncaglia 5, Stanislav Lobotka 6, Jozabed Sanchez 5, Daniel Wass 6, Maxi Gomez 5, Lucas Boye 5, Brais Mendez 6.
Subs: Pablo Hernandez (for Boye, 52) 5, Nemanja Radoja (for Sanchez, 70) 5, Iago Aspas (for Mendez, 82) 6.
Celta Vigo v Levante, (LaLiga, May 19)
Villarreal v Real Madrid (LaLiga, May 19)