Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a hat-trick and Gareth Bale became the fifth British player to score for Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in La Liga when he struck twice in an action-packed 7-3 win over Sevilla on Wednesday.
Making his first home start for the Spanish club, Gareth Bale finally brought the Bernabeu to life with a brace of goals against Sevilla but the Welshman was still upstaged by Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star scored a memorable hat-trick in Real’s 7-3 thrashing and celebrated the first of three goals with a military salute, a mischievous riposte to Fifa President Sepp Blatter.
Earlier in the week Blatter was forced to apologise to Ronaldo after making a series of scurrilous remarks about the former Manchester United striker, including calling him the ‘Commander’.
Ronaldo replied to Blatter on the pitch against Sevilla. His response to Blatter on Wednesday night was emphatic, and he becomes only the second player in history to score a hat-trick against the same side for four consecutive seasons. Real’s legendary Alfredo Di Stefano achieved the same feat against Las Palmas in the late 1950s.
For Bale, however, the evening was just as encouraging, the first time he has shown Real fans why president Florentino Perez forked out around £85m for his services in the summer. He opened the scoring on 13 minutes, controlling Karim Benzema‘s low cross in the penalty area with one touch before curling the ball into the top corner of the Sevilla net. Ten minutes later Bale doubled Real’s advantage with a 30-yard free kick that took a wicked deflection of Alberto Moreno.
Ronaldo made it 3-0 on the half-hour mark from the penalty spot when Fernando Navarro brought down Isco but Sevilla then scored twice before the break to breathe fresh life into the La Liga clash.
But Bale took control of the game in the second half, teeing up Benzema for Real’s fourth goal and then supplying Ronaldo on the hour mark with the pass that made it 5-2 to the hosts.
Though Sevilla pulled another goal back on 63 minutes, Ronaldo scored his third of the night ten minutes later. France striker Karim Benzema, who has been struggling to find the net for both club and country, also helped himself to two goals as third-placed Real closed to within two points of Atletico Madrid ahead of their game at Granada on Thursday.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team looked far from convincing at times and let Sevilla back into the match after taking an early 3-0 lead but what eventually became a rout was a welcome boost after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Barcelona.
Sevilla played the final quarter of an hour with 10 men after midfielder Stephane M’Bia was shown a second yellow card for catching substitute Luka Modric with a flailing arm and it was the first time in almost 50 years that 10 goals were scored in a La Liga match at the Bernabeu.
“It was quite a strange game with the amount of goals and everything that happened, some of the decisions, but we got the three points,” Real midfielder Xabi Alonso, who came on as a second-half substitute after a lengthy injury absence, told Spanish television.
“Personally I am very pleased to be back because these five months have been a big challenge,” added the Spain international.
“Little by little I will pick up the pace and start to be useful to the team again.”