Cristiano Ronaldo scores hattrick as Real rout Espanyol

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Real Madrid have moved to within four points of La Liga leaders Barcelona courtesy of a 6-0 win over an out-of-form Espanyol side at the Bernabeu on Sunday night.

Espanyol have now lost 14 of their last 17 league games against Real Madrid and conceded 23 goals in their last six with Los Blancos, who scored three times in the opening 16 minutes on home soil.

Cristiano Ronaldo led the way as Real sought to keep in the title chase after an inconsistent season that still leaves them in third place, four points behind the leaders, Barcelona.

Karim Benzema headed in a whipped cross from James Rodríguez after seven minutes and then Ronaldo won and struck home a penalty.

A James strike was deflected in after 16 minutes and Ronaldo showed a sublime touch to beat two players and curl a 20-yard shot into the corner before half-time.

Ronaldo headed in his third from close range after 82 minutes and Espanyol’s misery was complete with an own-goal from Oscar Duarte.