Three-goal Ronaldo back on song as Real thrash Malaga

Reuters, Friday 4 Mar 2011

Cristiano Ronaldo broke his four-game scoring drought with a hat-trick as Real Madrid trounced 10-man Malaga 7-0 in La Liga on Thursday to trim the gap with leaders Barcelona back to seven points


The Portuguese forward’s uncharacteristic barren patch ended when he netted Real’s fourth in the 51st minute at the Bernabeu after goals from Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria and Marcelo had put Jose Mourinho’s side 3-0 ahead at the break.

Ronaldo completed his treble with just over 10 minutes remaining, before asking to be substituted and receiving a rapturous ovation from the Real faithful as he left the pitch.

The hat-trick puts him level on 27 at the top of the La Liga scoring chart with Argentina forward Lionel Messi, who fired Barcelona to a 1-0 win at third-placed Valencia on Wednesday.

Barca, whose victory set a La Liga record of 20 matches undefeated away from home, have 71 points from 26 matches, Real have 64 and Valencia have 51.

Real’s biggest league win of the season made for a humiliating night for Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini, who was returning to the Bernabeu for the first time since he was sacked and replaced by Mourinho at the end of last season.

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