Ronaldo puts Real on top
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
After stating his unhappiness with being substituted too much, the Brazilian showed what a class performer he is and was involved in all three goals during his full 90 minutes at Santiago Bernabeu.
Bilbao created a host of chances throughout the match but each time found Iker Casillas in sparkling form between the sticks.
Ronaldo made them pay for their missed chances by grabbing two clinical goals, the first after controlling an Ivan Helguera header instantly before coolly volleying home.
He then went on a trademark mazy dribble before making half a yard to slot home the finish with his left foot after 55 minutes of play.
David Beckham curled in a free kick special ten minutes later but found Bilbao keeper Daniel Aranzubia equal to it as he tipped the ball onto the bar.
Ronald then went on the attack again and waltzed past two defenders before drawing the keeper and unselfishly squaring for Luis Figo to complete the scoring.
Real moved to the top of the league as a result of their win and Deportivo La Coruna's goalless draw at newcomers Real Murcia.
Javier Irureta's men were unable to break down the home defence who battled manfully to take a well-earned point and put a halt on their title challenge.
Celta Vigo were handed a 1-0 home defeat against Racing Santander thanks to Yossi Benayoun's strike in just the second minute.
The visitors held on for the win and Celta's frustration showed itself in the final minute when Peter Luccin was dismissed when some foul and abusive language earned him a second yellow card.