These are the matches that make the La Liga boring, as Real Madrid run all over the sliding Athletic Bilbao, beating the visitors 5-0 with two goals from Karim Benzema and a hat trick from Cristiano Ronaldo, including scoring one of them illegally, using his elbow.
While there were some moments of Athletic Bilbao testing Iker Casillas (at most two or three), this was possibly the best match for Real Madrid this season. Not just the goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, but the flow of the match in the second half, realizing that their greatest strength is the speed of their front four players, making it close to impossible to keep up with them when defending with a high line.
The scoring form of Cristiano Ronaldo is scary. He reached his third hat trick of the season (and only third in just under three weeks) thanks to a hand ball, but Ronaldo can’t reach certain milestones without making a loto f people angry about how he’s done it. He has now scored 13 goals in the La Liga this season, averaging more than two per match, and outscoring all but Barcelona and Valencia so far this season in the La Liga.
The first goal was a cross from Gareth Bale that met Cristiano Ronaldo, poorly marked, to kick off his fantastic evening. After a couple of scares on defense through set pieces (how else), it was actually a corner kick that brought them the calming two-goal lead as Karim Benzema, struggling to find the net this season in the league, meeting a cross and scoring in the 41st minute. Benzema committed a foul with his elevation, but this was a day that had everything go in Real’s way.
The second half was even better with Bilbao pressing high and Real Madrid sitting back, waiting for the opportunity to show their speed. The third goal was another Gareth Bale assist to Cristiano Ronaldo, this time blowing past the entire defense to set up Ronaldo for an easy one. The fourth, scored by Karim Benzema, was very similar, with Ronaldo doing the setting up.
The fifth? Ronaldo scoring with his elbow, with Pepe of all people delivering the assist. Real Madrid are now back in the top four and still trailing the scorching Barcelona, but the season is still quite long, and they will have an opportunity to close the gap and maybe take the top spot at one point, especially with two matches against Barcelona left to play.