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Ronaldo hat-trick as Real hit Espanyol for six

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick to help Real Madrid strike early and often to crush Espanyol 6-0 and stay in touch with Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league on Sunday.

Madrid bounced back from its 1-1 draw at Real Betis last weekend with another dominant display in coach Zinedine Zidane’s third game in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu, where he won his first two matches 5-0 and 5-1.

Goals by Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez on either side of a penalty earned and converted by Ronaldo had Madrid 3-0 ahead by only the 16th minute.

Ronaldo went on a spectacular dribble to ditch two defenders before blasting in the fourth before halftime. He completed his treble late before Oscar Duarte scored on own goal in his debut.

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