Ronaldo leads Real to the brink of La Liga title

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during a Spanish league football. Picture: AFP.

MADRID - Cristiano Ronaldo struck his 43rd league goal of the campaign to set Real Madrid on their way to a 3-0 home win over Sevilla on Sunday, that put them within a whisker of a first La Liga title in four years.

It was a much-needed return to winning ways for Jose Mourinho's side after the shock of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final elimination by Bayern Munich and they could clinch the title later on Sunday if second-placed Barcelona lose at Rayo Vallecano (1930 GMT).

Karim Benzema contributed a quickfire double early in the second half as Real moved on to 91 points with three games left, with Barca, whose three-year stranglehold on the Spanish title is almost certainly drawing to an end, 10 adrift on 81.

The holders were also dumped out of Europe in midweek, losing 3-2 on aggregate to Chelsea on Tuesday, and were stunned three days later by the news that coach Pep Guardiola was stepping down after four years during which he led the team to 13 trophies.