Real Madrid took another step toward securing the La Liga title with a 3-0 win over Sevilla at the Bernabeu on Sunday.
Despite the jubilation of last week's Clasico victory over Barcelona, Real Madrid suffered the huge disappointment of going out of the Champions League on penalties to Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
But two goals from Karim Benzema and a 43rd La Liga goal of the season from Cristiano Ronaldo were enough to give Real the victory over a Sevilla side that has now last three times in their last five matches.
Real broke the deadlock 19 minutes in through Ronaldo, who seemed to have recovered from his personal disappointment of missing the opening penalty in the shootout against Bayern. A neat interchange outside the area gave Benzema some space to play in the Portuguese forward, who turned back inside a defender before dispatching the ball past Javi Varas in the Sevilla goal.
The home side had to wait until the second-half, though, to extend their lead. Less than three minutes after the break, Angel Di Maria curled a low in-swinging ball across for Benzema at the back post and, although Coke got to the ball first, he could only succeed on playing it onto the Frenchman to side-foot home.
The third goal arrived four minutes later and it was a thing of beauty. An incisive Real counter saw Mesut Ozil play an inch-perfect cross-field ball to find Ramos in space down the right and the Spaniard picked out Benzema with a cross that the striker stooped to head home.
Coupled with Barcelona's 7-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano later in the day, the result leaves Real seven points clear atop La Liga with now just three games to play. That means that a win for Real away at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday will be enough to secure the title for Los Blancos.
And Real's assistant coach, Aitor Karanka, says that the players will be worthy champions.
This team deserves to win the title, Karanka said, according to the official Real Madrid website. Regardless of winning the league title or not, these players have the character and mentality of champions.
It's obviously important to win the Spanish league for everything it entails and for how hard we've worked for it, he added. The sooner we win, the better. It would be nice to win at a great venue like San Mames against Athletic Bilbao because they are having a great season. We're all only thinking about winning the game we need to celebrate as soon as possible.