Cristiano Ronaldo continued to make a mockery of the £80 million Real Madrid paid Manchester United for his services with his 13th hat-trick for the Spanish giants against Levante on Sunday evening.
His latest treble took him up to six hat-tricks for the season – the same number he achieved last season – as a header, a penalty and a 25-yard thunderbolt helped Madrid open up a ten point gap at the top of La Liga from fierce rivals Barcelona.
So how does his latest hat-trick compare to his goal scoring exploits from this season? For us, it’s his three goals against Malaga that stand out but read on and decide for yourself…
Zaragoza, August 2011
Ronaldo wasted little time in bagging his first hat-trick of the 2011/12 La Liga season – in fact he did it in the very first game.
Zaragoza were on the receiving end of the Portuguese international’s mastery as Real inflicted a 6-0 defeat on the hosts. Ronaldo bagged the first with a classic move, latching onto a sliderule ball from Mesut Ozil before placing his finish beyond the grasp of Roberto in goal.
The former Manchester United man grabbed his second and Madrid’s fourth of the game after he directed in Angel di Maria’s low cross before completing Zaragoza’s humiliation with a simple tap-in in the 86th minute.
Rayo Vallecano, September 2011
Ronaldo’s second hat-trick of the season wasn’t too long in coming, and it was Rayo Vallecano who were on the receiving end as Madrid bagged six goals once more.
The visitors had surprisingly taken the lead at the Bernabeu but it wasn’t long before Ronaldo got in on the action as a trademark burst of pace and a hard shot evaded Dani’s grip to draw Madrid level, while it was a penalty after Kaka went tumbling that helped the 27-year-old grab his second.
Ronaldo grabbed his third and final effort to round of the scoring for Madrid seven minutes from time with another penalty after an onrushing Dani pulled Ronaldo down.
Malaga, October 2011
Perhaps Ronaldo’s most important hat-trick at the time as his goals took Madrid past a talented Malaga side and to the top of the table after Barcelona had drawn against Sevilla.
With all three goals coming in the first half, Ronaldo latched on to a di Maria cross for his first before the pick of his three efforts saw him dance past two Malaga players before firing in a low effort from the edge of the box to claim his second goal.
The final flourish wasn’t too shabby either, with Ronaldo making it 4-0 just before half-time with a sumptuous back-heel volley.
Osasuna, November 2011
Ronaldo and his Real Madrid cohorts ran riot against Osasuna back in November, with goals from Pepe, Gonzalo Higuain and a brace from Karim Benzema to add to Ronaldo’s hat-trick helping Los Blancos to a 7-1 win.
Ronaldo claimed the first goal after 23 minutes with a precise header from a di Maria cross, while it was yet another penalty that handed the winger his second.
A header from a Alvaro Arbeloa clipped cross helped Ronaldo complete his hat-trick.
Sevilla, December 2011
A Christmas cracker for Ronaldo and Madrid, the Portuguese winger gave his employers the best present seven days before Christmas a week after they had gone down 3-1 to Barcelona.
With whistles ringing in his ears from the travelling Madrid support following his poor performance in El Clasico, Ronaldo responded in the best way possible, by bagging a hat-trick.
Di Maria was once more on hand to provide Ronaldo with the perfect delivery for Ronaldo to slot home, while his second came courtesy of a 30-yard piledriver having been allowed too much space and time on the ball.
A second-half penalty again provided him with the perfect chance to grab a hat-trick, an opportunity he did not pass up.