By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer
Another day, another hat-trick. Cristiano Ronaldo added four more goals on Tuesday to his growing collection of strikes with what was his 25th treble for Real Madrid. All in a night's work.
The Portuguese had hit his 24th hat-trick for the Spanish side in their 8-2 win at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday and followed up with yet another treble in a comprehensive 5-1 victory at home to Elche. This time, in fact, he even went one better as he ended the night with four goals.
Ronaldo was penalised early on for kicking Elche's Pedro Mosquera when attempting to clear the ball from his own area. It was never a penalty, but Edu Albacar smashed the ball past Keylor Navas (who came close to making a save on his Madrid debut).
But Gareth Bale headed home a James Rodriguez cross to level minutes later and after that, it was all Ronaldo. Firstly, another dubious penalty was rifled into the top-right corner. Then, a fantastic header made it 3-1 and after a second half in which only he and Isco had seemed interested in adding to the team's tally, the Portuguese scored a third from the spot after his heels were clipped by Mario Pasalic.
That was his 25th hat-trick for Madrid, leaving him just three adrift of Alfredo Di Stefano's club record of 28. It was also his 21st treble in La Liga, one short of the mark held by Di Stefano and legendary Athletic Club striker Telmo Zarra.
He later slotted home a fourth in added time to make it 12 for the season and 264 for Madrid, moving him to within 59 of Raul's Real record of 323. And with up to 56 games left this term for Ancelotti's side, there is an outside chance he could even do it in 2014-15.
"I have scored four goals three or four times before," the Portuguese told television station Canal Plus straight after the game. "The team made it possible. Things are going well for me and thanks to my team-mates for helping me so much. This match ball is for my son."
And coach Carlo Ancelotti said: "Ronaldo's time off was good for him. At this moment, he is very motivated and scoring lots of goals. He's fine now, physically."That's great news for the club, but Tuesday's match also saw Navas make an accomplished debut, while there were impressive displays from Isco and Asier Illarramendi.
The Basque, in particular, gave greater balance to the side and that is exactly what Madrid need following the summer sales of Angel Di Maria and Xabi Alonso.
Since the defeat to Atletico Madrid earlier this month, Madrid have hit 18 goals in their last three games in the space of just a week, with eight of those going to Ronaldo. Only tougher tests will determine if the balance has been restored in midfield, but once it has, Ancelotti can rest easy once again - because Cristiano can do the rest.