Real Madrid win thanks to Ronaldo's hat-trick
All Real’s goals came in the second-half but it still sees them trail arch-rivals Barcelona by 12 points while city neighbours Atletico are four points ahead of them with both sides still to play.
Ronaldo took his total for the season to 21 and will come face-to-face with top-scorer Lionel Messi on Wednesday when Real and Barcelona meet in the Spanish Cup semi-final first leg.
Afterwards Jose Mourinho’s assistant, Aitor Karanka, confirmed that the Portuguese star’s substitution straight after his third goal was not due to injury.
“It was just a precaution he got his goals and played his part like all the team did, the side is improving in general and we looked solid today once we got the first goal,” he said.
Antonio Adan was called up to replace Iker Casillas in goal after the club captain fractured a bone in his hand in the Cup game against Valencia, although new signing Diego Lopez from Sevilla will be the likeliest long-term replacement for the Spanish captain. Xabi Alonso was also on the bench and his absence was noticeable on a cold morning in Madrid.