Ronaldo inspires Real Madrid to rout at Valencia
January 21, 2013 -- Updated 0055 GMT (0855 HKT)
Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo was in fine form as Real Madrid won 5-0 at Valencia
- Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice as Real Madrid thrash Valencia 5-0 in La Liga
- Emphatic win means Real Madrid close gap on Barcelona to 15 points
- Inter draw 1-1 in Italy's Serie A while PSG win at Bordeaux in France
(CNN) -- If rumors that Cristiano Ronaldo might be dropped for Real Madrid's trip to Valencia were a ploy from coach Jose Mourinho to inspire his fellow Portuguese to greater heights, it was an unquestionable success.
The two were reported to have had a frank exchange of views after Real's midweek win over Valencia in the Spanish Cup, leading to stories that Ronaldo would be asked to sit on the substitutes bench.
But he wasn't. He started and demonstrated why he is lauded as one of the world's best players by helping himself to two goals and an assist as Real won 5-0 to claw back a little ground on runaway leaders Barcelona.
The damage was done in the first half, as Real raced into a five-goal lead inside the opening 45 minutes.
Read: Ten-man Barcelona shocked by Sociedad
Ronaldo's best ever goal?
A different side of Cristiano Ronaldo
Messi claims fourth Ballon d'Or
José Mourinho on managing star players
José Mourinho's press conference antics
Argentina international Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring on nine minutes as he polished off a swift Real counter attack from fellow countryman Angel Di Maria's cutback.
Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves had to save twice from Germany midfielder Sami Khedira before Ronaldo made headway down the left and crossed for Di Maria to tap into an empty net.
A minute later it was 3-0 as Mesut Ozil released Ronaldo and he fired home at the near post to effectively end the contest.
Ronaldo grabbed his second and Real's fourth on 41 minutes when he again finished off a pass from Ozil and the German playmaker was the provider on the stroke of halftime as he sent Di Maria away to grab his second.
Valencia improved after the break and tested Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas -- recently dropped by Mourinho -- several times but Real held firm.
Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid maintained their seven point lead over their city rivals in second with a comfortable 2-0 win over Levante, though their star striker Falcao limped off with injury.
Adrian and Koke grabbed the goals for Atletico, who remain eight points behind Barcelona.
Osasuna beat Deportivo La Coruna 2-1 while goals from Javi Guerra and Óscar González helped Real Valladolid to a 2-0 victory over Real Zaragoza.
In Italy, Inter stayed fourth in the Serie A table after a 1-1 draw away at AS Roma before news broke that their Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder had agreed to join Turkish club Galatasaray.
City neighbors AC Milan beat Bologna 2-1 at the San Siro while Fiorentina and Napoli drew 1-1.
In France big-spending Paris St-Germain won 1-0 away at Bordeaux to move top of Ligue 1 thanks to their Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Stade Rennes and Nice were also winners on Sunday.
In Germany, Nurnberg drew 1-1 with Hamburg while Augsburg won 3-2 away at Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Part of complete coverage on
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
The dreams of 32 footballing nations can begin at Friday's 2014 World Cup draw. It will be more complicated than most -- so click here for the lowdown.
CNN's Alex Thomas takes a brave punt on the 2014 champion ahead of Friday's World Cup draw.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1835 GMT (0235 HKT)
Pele has backed Brazil to deliver a "fantastic" World Cup amid growing fears the country will not be ready in time to host football's showpiece event.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
Adidas unveils official match ball, the Brazuca, and CEO Herbert Hainer discusses the tech behind it.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 2209 GMT (0609 HKT)
Zahir Belounis contemplated suicide as he was stuck in Qatar for two years. But the footballer says it still deserves to host the 2022 World Cup.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
As he celebrates his 40th birthday, just what is the secret to Ryan Giggs' longevity?
Two Belgian "brain coaches" are helping transform AC Milan from big-spender to developer of young talent, says CNN's John Sinnott.
October 22, 2013 -- Updated 1457 GMT (2257 HKT)
Shootings, attempted assassinations and intimidation - welcome to Libyan football in 2013.
October 18, 2013 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
Zahir Belounis' limbo existence is almost at an end. After a two-year nightmare, he has been told he will finally receive his Qatari exit visa.
October 10, 2013 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
France's multicultural stars shone brightest at the World Cup 15 years ago -- now could it be Belgium's turn to do the same in Brazil next year?
Adnan Januzaj and Diego Costa have highlighted a major dilemma for international football, says CNN's John Sinnott.
CNN's Alex Thomas reports from FIFA HQ after the ruling body delayed its decision on the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
FIFA's credibility rides on finding a solution to the Qatar World Cup controversy, says CNN's Ben Wyatt.
October 2, 2013 -- Updated 1534 GMT (2334 HKT)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have cost Paris Saint-Germain $30 million, but you can get your own chunk of the Swedish striker for just $41.
Today's five most popular stories