CRISTIANO Ronaldo has taken Real Madrid to the verge of its first Spanish league title in five years.
Ronaldo scored early in each half as Madrid defeated 10-man Celta Vigo 4-1 on Thursday AEST to retake the league lead from Barcelona and move within a point of winning the title.
A draw at mid-table Malaga in the final round on Sunday will allow Madrid to lift the trophy and avoid its longest title drought in La Liga since the 1980s.
“One game to go,” Ronaldo said. “We have to keep going until the end.”
The victory at Celta in a game postponed from February because of bad weather gave Madrid a three-point lead over Barcelona, which hosts eighth-place Eibar in its final match on Sunday.
“We played with a very good attitude, with a lot of determination and personality,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said.
“We knew that the three points were the most important thing, but we went out there to play, the win was only a consequence.”
Madrid played with an extra man after the controversial sending off of Celta forward Iago Aspas, who picked up a second yellow in the 62nd minute for an alleged dive inside the area after a challenge by Madrid defender Sergio Ramos.
Ronaldo opened the scoring at the Balaidos Stadium after picking up the ball just outside the area and firing a firm left-foot shot into the corner. The ball went through the legs of defender Gustavo Cabral and gave goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez no chance.
Ronaldo added to the lead after half-time with a well-placed shot from inside the area after receiving a perfectly timed pass by Isco in a breakaway.
It was Ronaldo’s 13th goal in his last eight matches, and 24th in league. “I did the hardest part, which was to score the first goal and then the second,” Ronaldo said.
Ronaldo hadn’t played an away match in the league since March, a run of four straight games.