Sensational. That’s one succinct word to describe the form of Cristiano Ronaldo in addition to the dominance of Real Madrid this season.
The world-class forward scored three goals as Real Madrid defeated Celta Vigo, 3-0, extending their winning streak in all competitions to 18 games, drawing Barcelona’s record for consecutive victories set under under Frank Rijkaard in the 2005-2006 year.
Boasting 23 goals in 14 league caps this season, Ronaldo scored his 23rd hat trick, which is the best of any player in La Liga, surpassing Los Blancos legend Alfredo Di Stefano and Telmo Zarra of Athletic Bilbao.
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Ronaldo also netted his 200th career La Liga goal, which no other footballer had done at such a fast pace, in 178 appearances.
“Having him in the team is a great advantage,” Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said of the superstar. “He is doing very well at that moment, he is extraordinarily motivated and physically he is at his peak.”
The road to the record-deciding hat trick didn’t start without some theatrics, as with little contact, the 29-year-old hit the ground in the box to draw a penalty kick that he converted in the 36th minute.
Then, in the 65th minute, Ronaldo lined up a bouncing ball inside the penalty area and fizzled a right-footed volley into the lower corner of the net.
Marcelo fed Ronaldo across the goal in the 81st minute for the quick left-footer, locking up the win for Real, which stands four points ahead of Atletico Madrid in first place.