Cristiano Ronaldo scored a record 23rd La Liga hat-trick as Real Madrid claimed a record equaling 18th straight win in all competitions at home to Celta Vigo on Saturday.
The Portuguese converted a spot kick for Real’s opener, powered home a fierce volley for his second and then arrived at the back post to finish Marcelo’s cross for his 200th La Liga goals-28 shy of Raul’s record tally for the Los Merengues in the Spanish Primera Division, in his 178th appearance.
The win saw Real move four points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who earlier in the day defeated Elche, at the top of the standings, with 36 points from 14 matches. They have now matched the Spanish record set by Barcelona under Frank Rijkaard between October 2005 and January 2006.
Ronaldo now leads joint-second pair of Alfredo di Stefano and Telmo Zarra, and fourth-ranked Lionel Messi in the list of all-time highest hat-trick scorers in La Liga.
Real were not at their best against mid-table Celta , who also had their own fair share of possession, but with another three points in the kitty and records tumbling at the Santiago Bernebeu; who said they needed to be imperious?
Atletico moved up to second with a 2-0 win at Elche earlier on Saturday. Barcelona can leapfrog the reigning champions and close in on leaders Real back to two points when they host Espanyol on Sunday.