Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick secures crucial Real Madrid win over Sevilla

Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick kept Real Madrid within touching distance of Barcelona at the top of Liga, securing a 3-2 win over Sevilla.

The Portuguese forward had been the subject of much criticism this week following his petulant reaction at his failure to score against Almeria on Wednesday – but Ronaldo hit back by netting three times at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Ronaldo scored twice in three first-half minutes to put Real Madrid in control of the contest, although Sevilla fought back – through goals from Carlos Bacca and Vicente Iborra – to push Carlo Ancelotti’s side all the way.

Gareth Bale made his return from injury, coming on as a second half substitute to contribute an assist for Ronaldo’s third goal – whipping a wicked cross to the back post for the Ballon d’Or holder to loop a header home.

The win keeps Real Madrid within three points of Liga leaders Barcelona – who thumped Cordoba 8-0 earlier in the day to put down an emphatic market in the title race.

With just three games left to play it’s all up for grabs in the Spanish top flight.

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