Gelsenkirchen, Germany: Cristiano Ronaldo was all smiles when he left the pitch following Real Madrid`s 2-0 Champions League round of 16 first leg win at Schalke 04 on Wednesday, safe in the knowledge that his goal-scoring form was back.
The Portuguese world player of the year had not scored for three games which must feel like an eternity for the prolific Ronaldo.
He put Real ahead in Gelsenkirchen, taking his Champions League goal tally to 73, two short of Lionel Messi`s record, before setting up Marcelo for the Spanish side`s second goal late in the game.
"He scored, he played well and gave an assist. Cristiano is back," a relieved Real coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters.
"Today we needed a game like that, with this attitude, a good game. Everything went well."
Eliminated by Atletico Madrid in the King`s Cup, crushed 4-0 by their city rivals in La Liga to see their lead cut to one point, Real bounced back with a lacklustre 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna last week.
But with their fans` jeers and whistles growing louder by the week, it was Ronaldo who took charge with a match-winning performance, helping Real notch a record-equalling 10th Champions League victory in a row.
"Look at his quality," Schalke 04 coach Roberto Di Matteo said.
"He goes into the box once and scores a goal. Then he sets up the second. The quality made the difference tonight."
With Real chasing an 11th European Cup and attempting to become the first team to successfully defend their Champions League title, Ronaldo`s goals will be key.
"Cristiano is not obsessed with scoring," Marcelo said. "Goals come when the team works together."