MADRID (Reuters) – Cristiano Ronaldo hit four goals and Karim Benzema netted a hat-trick as Real Madrid romped to a Champions League record-equalling 8-0 group-stage win at home to Malmo on Tuesday.
Real, who had already reached the last 16 as Group A winners, took the outclassed Swedish side apart at the Bernabeu with a ruthless display that matched the biggest margin of victory in the group stage of Europe’s elite club competition.
Real coach Rafa Benitez, accused of being too defensive since taking over in the close season, was in charge of Liverpool when they hammered Besiktas 8-0 in 2007, while Real’s ex-Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa played in both matches.
Benzema struck twice early on to put Real 2-0 ahead, following up his La Liga double against Getafe at the weekend.
Ronaldo made it 3-0 in the 39th minute with a free kick and netted a quick fire treble at the start of the second half to extend his Champions League record to 88 goals in 121 games.
Portugal’s FIFA Ballon d’Or holder set a record for goals scored in the group stage of 11 and has reached double figures in the competition for a fifth consecutive campaign.
It was his first four-goal haul in the Champions League, with the overall record of five held by Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Luiz Adriano, who achieved the feat with Shakhtar Donetsk but now plays for AC Milan.
Mateo Kovacic put Real 7-0 ahead in the 70th minute and Benzema completed the rout 16 minutes from time.
“We knew it would be a strange match because they had to come out and play to win to finish third,” Benitez told a news conference.
“We scored eight but it could have been more,” he added. “I have always said that I am not defensive and this demonstrates it.”
Real, the record 10-times European champions, finished on 16 points, with Paris St Germain, who had already qualified for the knockout phase in second place, on 13 after winning 2-0 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk.
Shakhtar and Malmo each have three points, with the Ukrainian side securing third place and a Europa League berth thanks to a better head-to-head record.
Malmo, who lost to Nottingham Forest in the 1979 European Cup final, made their Champions League debut last season.
(Writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)