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Ronaldo hits a brace for five-star Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo maintained his blistering scoring form with two goals as Real Madrid warmed up for the El Clasico with a 5-0 victory over Levante in La Liga on Saturday.

The Portuguese (right) has 15 netted times in the first eight league games and Real move up to second in the table, a point behind leaders Barcelona who they meet next weekend.

Ronaldo slotted home a penalty after 13 minutes following a foul by Juanfran on Javier Hernandez and the Mexican striker headed in from close range before halftime.

After the break Ronaldo completed his brace with a run down the left wing and a clinical finish. James Rodriguez volleyed in the fourth after 65 minutes and Isco completed the rout with an 18-metre drive.

Lionel Messi, who celebrated 10 years since his Barcelona debut this week, has his sights set on Telmo Zarra's La Liga scoring record after hitting the final goal for La Liga leaders Barcelona in a 3-0 win over Eibar on Saturday.

The Argentine is one behind the 251 scored by Zarra for Athletic Bilbao during the 1940s and 1950s.

Meanwhile, Champions Atletico Madrid beat Espanyol 2-0 yesterday to extend theur unbeaten home streak in the Spanish league to 24 games.

Midfielder Tiago Cardoso put Atletico ahead in the 43rd when he floated a header over goalkeeper Kiko Casilla from Gabi Fernandez's pass.

Atletico have excelled at set pieces under coach Diego Simeone and finished Espanyol off with a corner kick in the 71st minute, which was headed on by center-backs Diego Godin and Jose Jimenez before Mario Suarez tapped the ball in.

The defending champions rose to fourth place, five points behind leader Barcelona as a result of that win.