Sevilla 2-3 Real Madrid. Ronaldo nets hat-trick, keeps Real Madrid title hopes alive

Real Madrid moved to within two points of Barcelona after Cristiano Ronaldo‘s hat-tick sealed a 3-2 La Liga victory at Sevilla.

Cristiano Ronaldo‘s fifth La Liga hat-trick of the season gave Real Madrid a 3-1 victory over Sevilla to keep the pressure on leaders Barcelona.

Ronaldo, whose quick-fire double midway through the first half put Carlo Ancelotti‘s side in command at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, capped the treble with a terrific header after being set up by substitute Gareth Bale in the 68th minute.

Carlos Bacca pulled one back from the penalty spot for Unai Emery’s side – who had earlier gone agonisingly close to taking the lead through Jose Antonio Reyes – after former Sevilla man Sergio Ramos had fouled Aleix Vidal in first-half stoppage time.

Sevilla, who face a Europa League semi-final clash with Fiorentina next week, did snatch a second through substitute Iborra, but despite a late onslaught, they were unable to prevent Real from securing a seventh consecutive league triumph.

With Barcelona having increased their lead at the top of La Liga to five points with an 8-0 demolition of Cordoba earlier on Saturday, Real got off to a positive start, with Sergio Rico pulling off a phenomenal save to prevent Ronaldo firing the visitors in front.

Sevilla, undefeated at home since a 4-1 loss to Barcelona in February 2014, were not to be outdone, however, with Iker Casillas, returning in place of Keylor Navas, having to be alert to deny Vidal.

Reyes almost nudged Sevilla in front soon after when Bacca, who scored twice last time out, played in a wonderful cross that the winger was just inches away from prodding in.

Ramos – deployed in midfield after returning from suspension – was involved in a clash of heads with Grzegorz Krychowiak soon after, with the Polish midfielder retreating to the sidelines for treatment.

And Real made the man advantage pay when, in the 36th minute, Ronaldo leapt to head home his 40th league goal of the campaign from Isco‘s hanging cross.

The Portuguese was on hand to double the advantage one minute later, tapping home at the back post following Javier Hernandez‘s flick-on.

However, Ramos‘ rash tackle on Vidal on the stroke of half-time gave Sevilla a golden opportunity to get back in contention and Bacca duly obliged as he converted from the spot.

Ancelotti introduced Bale – returning from injury – in place of Hernandez shortly after the hour mark and the change paid immediate dividends as the Welshman crossed to the back post, where Ronaldo executed a sublime header back across goal to seal his hat-trick in splendid fashion.

Emery brought on Kevin Gameiro and Iborra with 12 minutes remaining, with the latter on hand to tuck away a second for the hosts after being set up by Vidal just two minutes after coming on to set up a frantic final 10 minutes.

Fortsätt läsa Sevilla 2-3 Real Madrid. Ronaldo nets hat-trick, keeps Real Madrid title hopes alive

Benzema & Ronaldo stars as Real Madrid Go 4 Points Clear

Cristiano Ronaldo‘s bullet header helped Real Madrid to a 2-0 victory over a physical Elche side on Sunday as they extended their lead at the top of La Liga to four points.

With Barcelona suffering a shock defeat at home to Malaga on Saturday, Real had a chance to move four points clear and they grabbed it with second-half goals by Karim Benzema and Ronaldo.

Video: Cristiano Ronaldo Bullet Header vs Elche (Feb 22, 2015)

Although the Portugal forward struck a curling shot against the post after four minutes, Real struggled to break down a team that worked hard and were guilty of some aggressive challenges.

Benzema was unlucky to have a spectacular overhead kick ruled out due to a questionable offside call but he did knock a loose ball in from close range after 56 minutes.

Ronaldo then sealed the victory with a powerful header into the top corner from an Isco cross after 70 minutes.

It was a welcome goal for Ronaldo who has suffered a dip in form since Christmas following an electrifying start to the season and has now moved joint third in Real’s all-time list.

The Portuguese now has 290 goals and is level with Carlos Santillana, while Raul is out in front on 323.

We’re trying to rediscover our best form and we know that in a short amount of time everything can change,” Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who celebrated his 500th La Liga match, told reporters.

We received a lot of criticism but now the situation is more relaxed but this situation is normal playing for Real Madrid.

Our attitude has always been right and it is usual that you have ups and downs in form. When you are down it is when you have to be more united and that has been the case.

Real once again started by deploying Lucas Silva in midfield with James Rodriguez and Sami Khedira injured and Asier Illarramendi still out of favour with coach Carlos Ancelotti.

Ronaldo was unfortunate with his early strike from the left of the area that hit the woodwork but he then fluffed a shot with the goal gaping after being found by Gareth Bale.

The visitors pushed forward and the Elche rearguard resorted to some combative tackles to keep them at bay.

Fullback Eduardo Albacar was booked midway through the first half after several fouls on Bale on the wing. Then early in the second half Aaron Niguez should have been dismissed for a reckless two-footed lunge on the Welshman.

While Benzema‘s acrobatic effort was ruled out in the first half he scored with a more mundane goal when he tapped in after a David Lomban clearance rebounded off keeper Przemyslaw Tyton and fell to the France striker.

Fortsätt läsa Benzema & Ronaldo stars as Real Madrid Go 4 Points Clear

Messi, Ronaldo to battle for Top Scorer in La Liga

After finding his scoring touch in Germany, Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to renew his scintillating duel with Lionel Messi in the Spanish league.

Ronaldo ended a rare three-game slump without a goal to help Real Madrid win 2-0 at Schalke on Wednesday in the Champions League.

It is clear that Cristiano Ronaldo lives to score goals,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “It’s never a problem for us when he doesn’t score for a couple of games. But he, of course, minds. I believe we are back on the right track.”

Madrid leads Barcelona by one point in the league before visiting a modest Elche side on Sunday.

Barcelona hosts Malaga on Saturday, three days before it travels to play Manchester City in the Champions League.

Not so long ago Ronaldo was running away with the Spanish league’s individual scoring title for the season.

Through 15 matches, Ronaldo had already tallied the impressive haul of 25 goals, while Messi – his closest chaser – was far behind with 13.

Since then, Messi has exploded and Ronaldo has struggled to keep up after facing 2 match ban. Ronaldo still leads with 28 goals, but Messi has closed the gap and has 26.

Counting all competitions, the two are fittingly locked on 37 goals in 34 appearances each.

Barcelona charged over fans ‘Ronaldo is a drunk’ Chants

The Spanish football federation is set to investigate Barcelona for a derogatory chant about Cristiano Ronaldo made by a small section of the Camp Nou crowd during their 5-0 win over Levante.

Approximately 200 home fans located in the ‘ultras’ section of Barca’s stadium sang ‘es un borracho, Cristiano es un barracho!’ midway through the second half of Sunday’s La Liga fixture, according to La Liga’s governing body LFP.

Video: Cristiano Ronaldo sings on his birthday party 

The term ‘barracho’ translates to ‘drunk’ in English, and it is thought Barca’s supporters were mocking Real Madrid star Ronaldo for holding his 30th birthday party just hours after his team’s 4-0 derby defeat to city rivals Atletico Madrid on February 7.

The LFP has deemed this to be in contravention of the RFEF’s Disciplinary Code, which outlaws any chant that incites ”violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance”.

Therefore, the league has announced its intention to pass on a written denouncement of the chant to the federation’s Anti-violence Commission on Thursday.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the LFP cited the Barca fan group ‘Almogavers’ as particular offenders for the ”repetitive, choral and coordinated form” of the chant, but also stressed that the song was not taken on by the rest of the crowd, whose ”behaviour was completely correct during the whole game”.

Ronaldo: Real Madrid will win La Liga title

Cristiano Ronaldo is convinced Real Madrid will regain the Spanish league title from Atletico Madrid, despite the 4-0 loss at its rivals.

Real suffered its heaviest defeat in more than four years but still lead La Liga ahead of Barcelona and Atletico.

Barca is a point adrift, with Atletico four points back in third.

In my opinion we are a better team than Atletico and we should be showing that on the pitch. I’m sure, in the end, we’ll win La Liga,” Ronaldo said.

European champions Real is aiming for its first La Liga in three seasons and took control after a 12-match winning streak in the first half of the season.

But its four-point advantage over Barcelona was reduced at the weekend as Atletico’s win, coupled with the Catalan club’s 5-2 success at Athletic Bilbao, reignited the title race.

“It was a day to forget but we are still top of the league and we know we’ll have to fight right until the end,” Portugal captain Ronaldo added.

We have to put this game behind us as quickly as possible because Real Madrid can’t lose 4-0 to any team.”

Meanwhile, Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes has defended the player for hosting his 30th birthday party shortly after the loss.

The Ballon d’Or winner was seen enjoying the celebrations in a video leaked to the Spanish media.

Ronaldo was devastated after the defeat and people spent two hours trying to cheer him up,” Mendes said.

The fact is that his birthday party had been organised more than a month ago and he had family coming from abroad.

He didn’t want to cancel out of respect for the people that came. What is inadmissible is that somebody takes advantage of a private affair to release a video.”

With Ronaldo missing, Madrid look for Bale out

The onus has centered on Gareth Bale to lead Real Madrid’s strikeforce in the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, when Real Sociedad visit in the Spanish league on Saturday. Ronaldo was suspended for two games on Wednesday for lashing out with a kick and punch against Cordoba last weekend.

Also, Barcelona need to win against a Villarreal on Sunday if it is to stay on Madrid’s tail. Defending champions Atletico Madrid travel to the tiny 5,000-seat Ipurua town stadium, where promoted Eibar have been enjoying a successful first season.

Without Ronaldo around, Bale has a chance to earn a little more of the spotlight. The attacking midfielder has scored in the last three league games, and in Real Madrid’s last seven wins. He has also scored in his last two games against Real Sociedad. Madrid are unbeaten in their last 12 home matches, a run that includes 11 wins.

Sociedad coach David Moyes’ strategy of defending tightly and breaking out on swift counterattacks paid rich dividends with a win against Barcelona on January 4. A victory against Madrid would make a remarkable double for the coach, giving Sociedad a massive confidence boost and lending credibility to Moyes’ tactics.

Having emerged victorious 3-2 from a bruising Copa del Rey clash at Atletico, Barcelona face little respite from Villarreal. Despite their attacking might, Barcelona managed only a 1-0 win against Villarreal in their last league encounter, and Villarreal have risen to sixth in the standings. Villarreal are unbeaten in their last 16 matches in all competitions in a run going back to early November, although the last time they won at the Camp Nou was in March 2008.

If Lionel Messi continues his marksmanship at home, he will have scored in eight successive matches at the Camp Nou, another personal record. Atletico travels to Eibar after that crushing Copa quarterfinal exit. Atletico finished with nine men. The implosion could have been worse had the normally even-tempered Arda Turan been red-carded for throwing a boot at a linesman.

Cristiano Ronaldo handed two-match ban for violent conduct

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was handed a two-game suspension by La Liga committee after racking up a red card on Saturday against Cordoba.

Ronaldo will miss matches against Real Sociedad on Saturday and Sevilla on next Wednesday. Real Madrid does have the option to appeal, however, although it’s unlikely the club will.

Full Video: Cristiano Ronaldo Red Card against Cordoba

Ronaldo was lucky to avoided a three-game suspension, which some thought he was in for due to the egregious nature of his actions — he kicked Edimar and punched Jose Crespo in the face.

Referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez did not write Ronaldo up for his swing at Crespo in the match report, only his kick to Edimar, which allowed the 29-year-old to avoid a violent conduct charge, which would’ve benched him for one of La Liga’s most anticipated games of the season — the derby between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

In Ronaldo’s defense, at least he apologized for his barbaric behavior immediately after the match last Saturday.

The two-match ban won’t affect Ronaldo’s ranking this season as the top goal-scorer in La Liga. The FIFA Ballon d’Or winner has 28 goals in La Liga play this year, while second- and third-place scorers Lionel Messi and Neymar, both of Barcelona, still trail with 21 goals and 14 goals, respectively.

Cristiano Ronaldo Eyeing Dream Season

La Liga returns this weekend after its winter break with Real Madrid leading the division by one point – as well as having a game in hand.

An interesting sub-plot over the second half of the season will be whether Cristiano Ronaldo can continue his current scoring pace – and beat Lionel Messi’s single season record for goals.

Ronaldo netted 51 goals in 47 appearances last season, setting a record of 17 goals for one edition of Europe’s elite club competition, as Real secured a record-extending 10th continental crown and the King’s Cup.

The Portugal captain continued where he left off in 2014-15 as the world’s richest club by income claimed the European Super Cup and Club World Cup and he has amassed an incredible 32 goals in 25 games in all competitions.

Ronaldo is on 25 goals through 15 games in league this season, already halfway to Messi’s record of 50 set during the 2011/12 season, as he’s currently 10 goals ahead of Messi this season. Ronaldo has boosted his total with seven strikes from the spot, yet his non-penalty goals total is currently ahead of Messi’s total at the same stage in 2011/12, with his non-penalty goals per 90 average leading La Liga this season:

 

Villarreal’s Moi Gomez has the highest non-penalty conversion rate in the division at 36.4% after scoring four goals. Only Gomez and Stephane M’Bia currently have conversion rates above 30% – both of which are likely to regress going forward.

The below table contains every player with at least four goals so far this season, also containing each player’s match winning goals as Ronaldo also leads the division in this area (24.0% of his goals scored).

It would be a dream if 2015 was like 2014 or even better,” Ronaldo said in an interview published in sports Daily As.

It is possible to do it because Madrid is always a candidate to win the competitions it is playing in,” added the 29-year-old.

We have a team spirit that can help us win the most titles possible and we will fight to the death to get them.”

Ronaldo attributed much of Real’s recent success to the arrival of coach Carlo Ancelotti, who replaced the divisive Jose Mourinho at the end of the 2012-13 season.

Italian Ancelotti immediately ended Real’s 12-year wait for their 10th European title and using the club’s millions has built a formidable side that is top of La Liga and one of the favorites to repeat their Champions League success this term.

The coach has a lot of importance,” Ronaldo said.

”He is a great trainer and a great person and we are all delighted with him. Together we are a united family which will try to improve on the successes of 2014.”

Ronaldo will find out whether he is going to be crowned FIFA World Player of the Year for the 3rd time or not and his second in a row, on Jan. 12 when he is up against Argentina captain Messi and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Ronaldo scored in every La Liga game in the Bernabéu in 2014

The Portuguese star found the back of the net in the 14 championship games he played in this year at home.

Cristiano Ronaldo did not fail to get on the scoresheet in any of the 14 La Liga fixtures that took place in the Bernabéu during 2014. His numbers are as extraordinary as they are praiseworthy. In fact, he has scored 23 times during these games (an average of 1.7 per game). During this time, Barcelona, Celta and Rayo are the rivals he has hit the mark against in the most amount of games, two apiece. Athletic, Elche, Atlético, Córdoba, Valencia, Osasuna, Levante and Granada are the remaining sides who have suffered at his hands.

The Portuguese man has also become the first Real Madrid player to score in all seven of the opening home fixtures during a La Liga season. He has racked up 14 goals during the 14-15 campaign so far (two per game). His four against Elche as well as his hat-tricks against Athletic and Celta on the last championship game of the year in the Bernabéu were unforgettable.

Cristiano Ronaldo hits his Record 23rd Hattrick in La Liga

Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a record 23rd La Liga hat-trick to guide leaders Real Madrid to a 3-0 victory over Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

Ronaldo also became the fastest player ever to score 200 goals in Spanish League.

It also helped the European champions extend their club record winning streak to 18 matches in all competitions and equal the record run of victories set by Barcelona between October 2005 and January 2006.

With his latest treble Ronaldo overtook greats Alfredo Di Stefano of Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao’s Telmo Zarra and he has three more hat-tricks than his present day rival Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

“The statistics he is producing are madness,” team mate Sergio Ramos told reporters.

“To be honest it is a privilege to play at Real Madrid with a player like him. You have to invent words to define him. He is beating all the records and is possibly in the best form of his career.”

Ronaldo, the inspiration behind Real’s blistering form this season, struck the opening goal from the penalty spot nine minutes before the break after he was felled by Jonny Castro.

While Real constantly looked to push forward, they also found it tough against a well-organised Celta.

There was no stopping Ronaldo though as he blasted a volley from the center of the penalty area after 65 minutes to make it 2-0 before adding a third goal from close range nine minutes from the end.

“To have a player like Cristiano is a big advantage,” coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters.

“He is playing very well at the moment. He has a extraordinary motivation and physically he is at his best.”

Real have 36 points from 14 games, four ahead of Atletico and five in front of Barcelona who host Espanyol on Sunday. Fortsätt läsa Cristiano Ronaldo hits his Record 23rd Hattrick in La Liga