Cristiano is the best in the world: Karanka

Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed his 54th goal of the season as Real Madrid moved closer to a 32nd La Liga title with a 2-1 win at Barcelona for whom Lionel Messi was reduced to a bit-part role. “It was an important goal but the win for the team is more important,” said Ronaldo, who later tweeted: “Mission accomplished”.

Winner:  Real’s Ronaldo celebrates his goal against Barcelona. Pic/Getty Images 

The Portuguese star finished a Mesut Ozil pass from a tight angle on 73 minutes after rounding Victor Valdes in the Barca goal. Sami Khedira had put Madrid ahead before substitute Alexis Sanchez levelled for Barca to give the Nou Camp faithful — who had seen their champions crush their bitter rivals 5-1 in the same fixture last year — a degree of hope. The goal also means Ronaldo moves one ahead of Messi on 42 league goals in the battle to be ‘pichichi’, La Liga’s top goal-scorer.

On the night, Ronaldo was far more dangerous than Messi, with six attempts at goal to Messi’s one. Ronaldo’s winner gave Madrid their first league win over Barca in four years. For coach Jose Mourinho, it was his first win at Camp Nou with Madrid and only his second triumph in 11 attempts against the Catalans. His assistant Aitor Karanka was all praise for the hero on the night: “Ronaldo has given us lots of fantastic moments. For me, he is the best player in the world.”

Madrid’s two goals meant it was 109 for the season making them the highest-scoring team in a single season in Spanish football history, beating the record of 107 previously held by the Madrid side of the 1989-90 season

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