Gareth Bale struck a hat-trick as Zinedine Zidane enjoyed a winning start to his career as Real Madrid boss with a 5-0 rout of Deportivo la Coruna.
Bale took his tally to 10 goals in his last seven games with two excellent headers either side of a composed left-footed finish after Karim Benzema had opened the scoring before the Frenchman also smashed home the fifth in stoppage time.
Victory moves Zidane’s men back to within two points of leaders Barcelona, who were 4-0 winners over Granada earlier in the day.
Bale was rumoured to have been disappointed by Rafael Benitez’s unceremonious sacking after just seven months in charge on Monday.
However, there were no signs of discontent from the former Spurs man as he continued arguably his best run of form since joining Madrid three years ago.
In stark contrast to Benitez’s final days in charge, there was an air of optimism around a packed Bernabeu as the fans braved the freezing January temperatures.
Zidane’s name was chanted before kick-off, whilst on the big screens a video recalled his most glorious moments as a Madrid player, including his sumptious volley to win the 2002 Champions League final.
Deportivo had only been beaten three times this season prior to their visit to the capital, and threatened to spoil the party early on as Keylor Navas was forced to produce a vital save to prevent the on-form Lucas Perez opening the scoring 11 minutes in.
Zidane insisted earlier in the week that he would stick loyally by the star front three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale, and they once again provided the cutting edge in front of goal.
Madrid also got a break with the opening goal when Benzema flicked home his 17th goal in 18 games this season from Sergio Ramos’s scuffed shot despite Deportivo cries for offside.