Generous Ronaldo shines as ultimate team player

MADRID - Cristiano Ronaldo proved himself to be the perfect team player when he scored a goal and helped set up four more as Real Madrid trounced Villarreal 6-2 in La Liga on Sunday.

The world's most expensive player scored a trademark free-kick, that beat Diego Lopez for sheer pace, and through a mixture of perspiration and inspiration guided the team to victory and back within two points of leaders Barcelona.

Near the end of the game, when he won a penalty, he even turned down the chance to take the ensuing spot-kick and allowed Xabi Alonso the honour, despite being the nominated taker.

"I gave the ball to Xabi because there are enough chances for everyone," Ronaldo told reporters after the match.

"The team played well and there is no need to worry about what happened in Lyon," he added, referring to the 1-0 last-16 Champions League defeat away to Olympique Lyon during the week.

"Here we all win and lose together."

The Portuguese forward has been accused of being selfish in the past and back in December was criticised after he missed a spot-kick against Almeria and then refused to join in the celebrations when a team-mate netted the rebound.

He also earned himself an unnecessary red card in that game, and was sent off again against Malaga last month, picking up a two-match suspension.

Local media reported Real Madrid were worried that his behaviour was damaging team morale and their chances, but that side of the 25-year-old was nowhere to be seen on Sunday.

He opened the scoring and ran tirelessly at the Villarreal defence, helping set up two goals for Gonzalo Higuain and one for Kaka before winning the penalty at the end.

In keeping with an emphasis on the team as a whole rather than its individuals, Real coach Manuel Pellegrini refused to single out Ronaldo for special praise on Sunday.

"The team played to a high level in attack, but also showed themselves to be very secure in defence," he told reporters.

"I am pleased with the performance levels of all the players."