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The Portuguese superstar reached a half-century of strikes this campaign as he netted a stunning free kick in the derby at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday night

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 50th, 51st and 52nd goals of the season in Real Madrid's Primera Division clash against Atletico at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday night.

The Portuguese superstar reached the iconic milestone of 50 goals after his strike in the 25th minute, when he lashed a brilliant swerving free kick past a static Thibaut Courtois from fully 30 yards.

His first effort was his 38th La Liga goal in 2011-12 in just 32 appearances, reaching a half-century of strikes in all competitions in just 47 outings for the capital giants, but he later added another with an equally brilliant strike from outside the box to make it 2-1 in the second half and made it three from the penalty spot late in the game as Madrid ran out 4-1 winners.

Ronaldo netted 53 goals in 54 appearances last season, and with six league games left to play in the current campaign, coupled with Los Blancos' continued participation in the Champions League, he looks certain to surpass his own total over the next few weeks.

The Portuguese's third goal on Wednesday also equalled his own Pichichi record of 40 league goals in a single season in La Liga, set last term, which beat the historic mark of 38 previously shared by Athletic Bilbao great Telmo Zarra and Madrid legend Hugo Sanchez.

On Saturday, Barcelona star Lionel Messi notched his 60th goal of the season in the Catalans' 4-1 demolition of Zaragoza, becoming the first player since Bayern Munich legend Gerd Muller to reach the illustrious figure.

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