La Liga, Santiago Bernabeu - Real Madrid 6 (Benzema 7', Ronaldo 12', 45', 82', James 16', Duarte OG 86') Espanyol 0.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a perfect hat-trick - netting one goal with his left-foot, right-foot and with his head - as Real Madrid dismantled Espanyol in a 6-0 win.
The result continued Los Blancos resurgence under new coach Zinedine Zidane, who has now emphatically won all three of his first games in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu - scoring 16 goals in the process.
Real Madrid started the match at lightning pace, finding themselves three goals to the good after just 16 minutes following goals from Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez. A fourth soon followed before the break from the Portuguese number seven.
The hosts took their foot off the pedal after the break, but the introduction of Jese Rodriguez livened the contest up again, as the winger made quite the impression down the left wing. This was another display for Zidane to be satisfied with.
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (7) celebrates his goal with team mates.
Image credit: Reuters
3’ GREAT CHANCE FOR MARCELO! Real Madrid move the ball around the edge of the box well, but Marcelo blasts over at the near post when he should have kept it low. That was an opportunity.
4’ RONALDO'S SHOT NEEDED SAVING! The Real Madrid number seven takes the ping from the edge of the box, but Arlauskis does well to get his body behind it and make the save.
7’ NOW ISCO SHOOTS WIDE! Real Madrid are peppering the Espanyol goal with shots from around the area, but the playmaker couldn't quite get his range right. He fires wide.
8’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1 Espanyol 0: There's the break-though, and it had been coming! James whips in a wicked cross from the right side and Benzema angles a header into the corner of the net.
12’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2 Espanyol 0: Ronaldo makes no mistake from the spot! He has missed a penalty kick already this season, but this time he finds the bottom left corner with assurance.
17’ GOAL! Real Madrid 3 Espanyol 0: And there's the third goal! James takes the shot from the edge of the box, and finds its way into the net after a deflection from the back of Diop.
20’ THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A CIRCUS GOAL! Some of this football from Real Madrid has been outstanding. Isco and Benzema play a one-two inside the box, but the latter shoots wide of the near post
33’ BENZEMA'S SHOT IS BLOCKED! James is taken down inside the box, the referee plays on and Benzema takes the shot on the spin. But the effort is blocked by the defender.
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (R) celebrates a goa
Image credit: Reuters
37’ JAMES FIRES HIS FREEKICK OVER THE BAR! Ronaldo leaves the set piece to the Colombian (noteworthy in itself) but he shoots over the crossbar. The goalkeeper wasn't troubled.
45’ GOAL! Real Madrid 4 Espanyol 0: That was vintage Ronaldo! Showed excellent feet to get away from Roco after a sprint forward, then fired a strike into the top corner of the Espanyol net.
48’ ROCO SHOULD HAVE DONE BETTER! That is easily Espanyol's best chance of the match so far. Roco found himself unmarked about six yards out, but he manages to head wide.
69’ ON TO THE ROOF OF THE NET! That was much better from Ronaldo. From a tight angle he gets that movement on the ball, with the goalkeeper beaten. But it lands on the roof of the net.
73’ BRAVE GOALKEEPING FROM NAVAS! The Costa Rican keeper had to come off his line quickly to smother shot from Perez. The Real Madrid man hasn't had much to do, but he was needed there.
81’ ABRAHAM WITH THE DECENT CHANCE! The midfielder ghosted into the penalty area to latch on to the end of a cross from the right side, but his shot is tame and Navas makes the save.
83’ GOAL! Real Madrid 5 Espanyol 0: Ronaldo has his hat-trick! Jese finds the number seven with a sensational cross to the back post, and he finds the net with a brave diving header.
88’ GOAL! Real Madrid 6 Espanyol 0: That's somewhat unfortunate, although it was great play from Jese. He drove at his marker and fizzed a ball across the face of goal, but Duarte sticks out a leg to finish into his own net.
Cristiano Ronaldo is now the only player to have scored eight goals against the same opponent in a league season in this century.
James Rodriguez has been involved in more goals than any other midfielder in La Liga this season (four goals, six assists).
Karim Benzema has scored more first goals than any other player in La Liga this season.
TALKING POINT - Is Marcelo the most underrated player in the Real Madrid team?
There are no shortage of global superstars on the Real Madrid team, but the influence of Marcelo on Los Blancos is often understated. Against Espanyol, the Brazilian controlled the entire left wing, where much of Real Madrid’s play flowed. He is so important to everything they do, and yet he rarely gets the recognition that he deserves. Marcelo should be considered one of the finest left-backs in the world.
Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (L) celebrates a goal with team mate Marcelo
Image credit: Reuters
MAN OF THE MATCH - Cristiano Ronaldo
Last week the Madrid press questioned where the real Cristiano Ronaldo has been this season. Well, he made an appearance this evening. He got off and running with a straight-forward penalty conversion, but showed some of his best form throughout the match. With Ronaldo in this groove Real Madrid might have a chance at finding their groove again.
Real Madrid - Navas 7, Carvajal 6, Marcelo 8, Varane 7, Ramos 6, Kroos 6, Modric 7, Isco 7, James 7, Ronaldo 9, Benzema 7.