Ronaldo quadruple fires Real to the summit

Ronaldo scored a quadruple as Real Madrid knocked rivals Barcelona off the top.

Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo scored a sensational quadruple as Real Madrid knocked rivals Barcelona off the top of the Spanish first division with a thumping 6-1 home win over Racing Santander on Saturday.

Portuguese star Ronaldo made it eight goals in his last three league matches with a best ever four goals as Madrid made it 16 goals in those same three outings to climb a point above defending champions Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

“I am really happy because I have never scored four goals before,” said Ronaldo. “However, the most important thing is the team and it wouldn’t have been possible to score without the help of my team-mates.

“Some of my team-mates were better than me but like the coach says there is no reason to be euphoric. There is a long way to go in the league although being top is important.”

Earlier, Barcelona had gone top with a 2-0 win at 10-man Real Zaragoza thanks to a brace from Lionel Messi as he made it four goals in as many days after scoring both goals in the midweek 2-0 Champions League win over Copenhagen.

“Leo is a goalscorer,” said Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola. “Even though he doesn’t play as a central striker he has the goal on his mind and that’s why he scores the number of goals he does.”

However, Ronaldo topped Messi’s feat, scoring a first-half brace at the Santiago Bernabeu before adding another two in the second half to take his league tally to nine this season.

Gonzalo Higuain and Mesut Ozil were also on target as Real followed up 6-1 and 4-1 wins over Deportivo La Coruna and Malaga with another rout, leaving Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten side with a perfect four league wins at the Bernabeu.

Racing fell behind in the 10th minute as Higuain scored his fifth goal of the season and the Argentine turned provider for the second with a low cross to give Ronaldo an easy tap-in on the quarter hour mark.

Ronaldo grabbed his second on 26 minutes with another easy finish although the former Manchester United man looked offside.

It was more of the same in the second period with Ronaldo pouncing on an Angel di Maria pass to complete his hat-trick two minutes after the break.

Argentine Di Maria then won a penalty on 55 minutes and Ronaldo converted for his first ever quadruple in the famous white jersey and the striker almost grabbed a fifth in the closing stages.

German international Ozil added a fifth as Real ran riot and sent a title warning to Barcelona, who had made it a perfect four away wins with a 2-0 triumph at Real Zaragaza.

Messi had put Barca ahead on 42 minutes and Zaragoza pressed the self-destruct button when Argentine midfielder Leonardo Ponzio was sent off two minutes after the break for an off-the-ball incident with Dani Alves.

Messi grabbed his second on 66 minutes with a fierce left-footed shot and Barcelona eased to a comfortable win.

Zaragoza sit bottom of the table without a win in eight games and coach Jose Aurelio Gay fearing for his job.

In other matches Valencia fell to their second successive league defeat losing 2-1 at home to Real Mallorca on Saturday.

Chori Castro scored a brace (7 min, 27) to put Mallorca in command and Valencia could not salvage something from the game despite Roberto Soldado reducing arrears with a 35th minute penalty.

Valencia, who lost 2-1 to Barcelona last time out, now trail league leaders Real by four points.

Villarreal can move a point behind Real with victory over Atletico Madrid on Sunday in the game of the weekend.

Bureau Report