Cristiano Ronaldo shrugged off his domestic ban to aid Real Madrid in their quest for a tenth title. (AFP Photo)
Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals apiece as Real Madrid crushed Schalke 6-1 on Wednesday to all but seal a place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Madrid dominated from the start of the first leg match in the last 16, scoring twice in the first 21 minutes through Benzema and Bale.
Ronaldo rifled the ball home in the 52nd, before each of the trio struck again, with Schalke hardly able to threaten Real's goal.
Schalke's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar volleyed in a consolation strike in stoppage time - the most spectacular of all seven goals on the night.
The devastating display by the nine-time winners leaves Schalke with only a mathematical chance of advancing in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 18.
Madrid's victory ended the team's poor run in Germany - of its previous 25 matches there, the Spanish giants had won only one, a 3-2 success in 2000 at Bayer Leverkusen.
Jose rues chances
Istanbul: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho acknowledged that Wednesday night's 1-1 draw against Galatasaray in Istanbul in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie had to go down as "an opportunity missed".
The London club took an early lead through Fernando Torres at the Turk Telecom Arena, but they failed to capitalise on their good start and Galatasaray came back to equalise midway through the second half courtesy of Aurelien Chedjou.
That means the tie remains open ahead of next month's return at Stamford Bridge, when it could have been over after half an hour in Istanbul. "The first half was an opportunity missed," Mourinho said.