Cristiano Ronaldo: Records tumble for Real Madrid striker - scoring 23rd La Liga hat-trick and 200th goal in the division on Saturday night

What a season the sensational Portuguese has had

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The Independent Online

Cristiano Ronaldo continued his sensational season by scoring a record-breaking hat-trick and registering his 200th La Liga goal to help Real Madrid beat Celta Vigo 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night.

The treble was the former Manchester United man’s 23rd in Spain, a figure that helps him surpass Alfredo Di Stefano and Telmo Zarra as the player with most hat-tricks in La Liga history. His third also brought about his 200th La Liga goal from just 178 games.

The Portuguese star helped Madrid to their 18th consecutive victory in all competitions, a run that equals the best in Spanish football alongside Frank Rijkaard’s Barcelona side from the 2005-06 season. The European champions will be expected to set a new record on Tuesday night when they host Ludogorets in their final Champions League group game.

“It is a real advantage to have Cristiano playing for us,” said Carlo Ancelotti after the match. “He is playing really well and he is peak physical condition, he is extraordinarily motivated at the moment".

The 29-year-old now has 23 league goals already this season and 31 for club and country with the campaign yet to reach its midway point. His latest treble was the fourth time already this season that he has scored three times or more. His first came in the 8-2 demolition of Deportivo and he hit another hat-trick against Athletic Bilbao as well as notching four goals against Elche.

The record did not go without controversy, however. The freescoring forward scored his first from the penalty spot and it came from a fall inside the penalty area with little, if any, contact All the more need for an historic treble, then, and there was no questioning the two goals that followed. His second came from a ball bobbling about inside the Celta box and he pounced with a powerful low finish. The third was steered it with his left foot at the far post from a pin-point Marcelo cross.

 

His 200th goal came in his 178th league appearance, the fewest number of matches needed to reach the milestone. Zarra needed 219 games and Lionel Messi, although reaching the target at the age of just 25, required 235 matches. Ronaldo has been rapid.

The league’s top scorer also surpassed Alan Shearer’s career goals total of 283 with his hat-trick strike. He now sits on 284, with 84 coming for Manchester United. He will now chase the targets of Dixie Dean (310), Steve Bloomer (317) and Jimmy Greaves (366).

He has only failed to score in one league game this season, Madrid’s 2-1 victory at Malaga last weekend where he provided both goals instead, and has now scored in 17 consecutive league home matches, while becoming the first Real Madrid player to score in the first seven home matches of the season. In all competitions he has now netted 150 goals in 132 competitive matches on home soil.

Ronaldo left the Bernabeu pitch with another matchball that will takes its place in his museum in Madeira. He may need to make more space.

The Ballon d’Or favourite has been setting records aplenty this season and he shows no signs of slowing down.

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