Cristiano Ronaldo struck five as Real Madrid destroyed a hapless Espanyol 6-0 to prove their title credentials.
The Portuguese hit a 13-minute hat-trick in the first half with Karim Benzema adding to the tally as Madrid stormed to victory.
Ronaldo scored twice more in a more relaxed second half that saw Espanyol squander a few opportunities of their own as they faced a Madrid side determined to perform.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Article continues below
Espanyol started brightly as they pressed their visitors high up the pitch and showed their attacking intent through the strength of Felipe Caicedo.
However, Ronaldo and co. soon decided to take the game away from the home side in the seventh minute when the Portuguese calmly slotted home his first goal of the season after a Luka Modric through ball.
Article continues below
Ten minutes later, Ronaldo found himself with the chance to double his tally, a penalty awarded when Bale was brought down by the clumsy Alvaro. The 30-year-old converted confidently, putting his team 2-0 up.
And then 13 minutes after his first, Ronaldo bagged his hat-trick as a brilliant Bale cross found the winger, who finished off the move.
Los Blancos' rampage continued when Benzema hit home the fourth of the game when he was found at the back post by a low Ronaldo cross, the hat-trick man turning provider.
The final ten minutes of the half saw Espanyol starting to find their feet in the game with some degree of control, with Gerard Moreno firing a well worked effort into the Madrid side netting.
Benzema could have added to the home side's misery as he found himself clear on goal against Pau Sabata, but the Frenchman was unable to capitalise with his shot hitting the post.
Madrid were noticeably relaxed in the second half with Rafa Benitez undoubtedly keeping one eye on Tuesday's Champions league match against Shakhtar Donetsk.
However, this did not effect their ability in front of goal as man-of-the-match Ronaldo bagged his fourth of the game as a rapid break saw Bale square the ball across to the winger once again for another simple prod home.
It may have not been noticeable by the scoreline but Espanyol had managed to create themselves just as many chances on goal as their clinical opposition.
The day was summed up for the home side as Moreno forced a strong low save from Keylor Navas but Salva Sevilla missed a simple tap-in from three yards.
The 81st minute saw Ronaldo find the net yet again as substitute and ex-Espanyol loanee Lucas Vazquez skipped past his marker and laid a simple ball to the Portuguese, who tapped in his fifth goal of the day.
Three minutes later Ronaldo almost claimed an unprecedented sixth but he was unable to steer his shot on target following a Marcelo through ball.
The last big chance of the game came to sub Vasquez as he fired a strong left-footed effort at Pau, who made a good diving save.
After a disapointing start to the season Benitez's team have certainly silenced their critics, with two destructive victories over Real Betis and now Espanyol showcasing their title credentials with star man Ronaldo finally announcing himself in the new season.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms