Ronaldo double rescues 10-man Real

Madrid ride their luck but rampant Barcelona retain their massive lead in the standings

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 3:04am


Goalkeeper Iker Casillas came off the bench for 10-man Real Madrid, who needed a second-half double from Cristiano Ronaldo to beat Real Sociedad 4-3, while leaders Barcelona cruised to a 4-0 win over Espanyol.

Barcelona, whose goals all came in the first half against their city neighbours, remain 16 points clear of bitter rivals Real and 11 ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who drew 1-1 with Mallorca.

Madrid captain Casillas was left out for the second consecutive game but was called upon after just five minutes after his replacement, Adan Garrido, was red-carded.

After the game, Mourinho said he was unconcerned about receiving abuse from the crowd.

"Perfect. Let them whistle me before the match and then support the team as they are doing. I think the whistles are for leaving Casillas out and also because we are not achieving our aims in the championship," he said.

"There are others who didn't applaud and are not happy with his [Casillas'] performances. If I am not doing well it is normal that they whistle and it is something you have to live with. I don't want to be a hero independently of my performances." At the Camp Nou, Pedro Rodriguez hit a double with Xavi Hernandez and Lionel Messi also scoring in a rampant first half as Barca welcomed coach Tito Vilanova back after cancer surgery.

"I would like to thank everyone for their support. This club have had a lot of knocks in the last couple of years but I always want to take the positive approach. What has happened to me could have happened to anyone," said Vilanova.

"This is not over yet and there will be days that I can take training and others I can't, but I want the media to realise that this illness is mine and it is private."

Messi, Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta were heading to Zurich yesterday as the nominees for the Fifa Ballon d'Or prize, which was to be awarded overnight.

Messi, who finished 2012 with a record 91 goals, was the favourite to win it for an unprecedented fourth time.

"Andres would love to win it, just like Leo," said Pedro. "I hope one of them wins it."