Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick inspires Real Madrid rout

Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid close gap on Barcelona to seven points with a 7-0 victory over Málaga

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Primera División, 3 MARCH 2011, Santiago Bernabeu
team1
Real Madrid
7 - 0
team2
Málaga

A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick helped Real Madrid keep within reach of leaders Barcelona as Jose Mourinho’s men thrashed Málaga at the Bernabeu on Thursday night.

The Portuguese winger added his three-goal haul to Ángel Di María and Marcelo’s first-half strikes and Karim Benzema’s brace to help Los Blancos close the gap on their Catalan rivals to seven points.

It proved a torrid night for ex-Real coach Manuel Pellegrini, whose relegation-threatened Málaga side now sit just two points off the foot of the La Liga table.

The Chilean was left to rue his decision to play a team of fringe players as he kept one eye on next weekend’s vital clash with fellow strugglers Osasuna.

Real took the lead after 26 minutes when Benzema converted Xabi Alonso’s free kick, and Di María doubled the home side’s lead moments later after a rapid break from Mourinho’s men.

Marcelo then expertly volleyed Di María’s cross past Málaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero to add a third before the break.

Ronaldo scored his first of the night six minutes into the second half before Benzema’s header put Real five goals to the good.

A bad night got worse for Málaga when Manolo was show a second yellow card after he handled Marcelo’s cross in the box, and Ronaldo was on hand to smash the resulting penalty into the roof of the net.

The former Manchester United forward grabbed his third of the night -and his 31st of the season -when he tapped home substitute Sergio Canales’s teasing cross to cap a magnificent performance and preserve Real’s 100 per cent home record.

La Liga table snapshot

Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand: Chelsea FC have made the signing of the summer
Michael Owen
Michael Owen states his prediction for Arsenal v West Ham
Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand predicts where Liverpool FC and Man United will finish
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Man United could sign 33-year-old midfielder on a free transfer – report
Jurgen Klopp
Kai Havertz and Timo Werner warn Chelsea FC team-mates about Liverpool FC
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang makes prediction about Arsenal this season
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Billie Jean King (Photo: Srdjan Stevanovic / ITF)
ITF announces that women’s tennis world cup to be renamed the Billie Jean King Cup
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang makes prediction about Arsenal this season
Timo Werner
Timo Werner: Why I chose Chelsea FC ahead of Liverpool FC