Incredible Ronaldo keeps Real breathing down BarcaÃ¢ÂÂs neck
He may have a stupid, shiny face you want to whack with an ironing board, Tom and Jerry style, but Cristiano Ronaldo certainly can play a bit.
The most expensive footballer on the planet has got the Madridista press ranting and raving that he was worth every single cent of his multimillion euro fee after his first hat-trick in la Liga dragged a largely lethargic Madrid through their ordeal at Mallorca's Ono Estadi to win 4-1 and stay one point behind BarÃÂ§a with two games to play.
Ã¢ÂÂExtraterrestrial,Ã¢ÂÂ spumed MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs front cover with Santiago Segurola oozing that Ã¢ÂÂhe has blessed the Spanish league with his presence.Ã¢ÂÂ
At 1-0 down to a Champions League chasing Mallorca, a shoddy Real Madrid looked dead and buried - again - until Ronaldo took advantage of a hesitant Dudu Aouate in the opposition goal to flick an up-and-under, Ã¢ÂÂthat oneÃ¢ÂÂs got snow on itÃ¢ÂÂ shot into the back of the net.
Two more then followed to give the Portuguese mirror-snogger 25 league strikes for the season before Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn ruined RonaldoÃ¢ÂÂs night to score MadridÃ¢ÂÂs fourth and his 26th (of the season, obviously Ã¢ÂÂ not the game).
Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂd have liked to have seen BarÃÂ§a for two months without Messi,Ã¢ÂÂ huffed Manuel Pellegrini after the game in trying to fend off accusations that Real Madrid are a one player and ten other half-wits team in the final stages of the season by claiming that their yearÃ¢ÂÂs work has been a collective effort.
It is easy to see why a poking press may have come to this conclusion. Since the BarÃÂ§a debacle at the Bernabeu, Ronaldo has scored two of the three goals against Osasuna on Sunday - including the late winner - offered two assists against Zaragoza, one goal against Valencia and another against AlmerÃÂa.
This is all in stark contrast to KakÃÂ¡ who was very much with the World Cup in mind with a quite hopeless performance on Wednesday night. Ã¢ÂÂOnce again he was nowhere,Ã¢ÂÂ complained AS editor, Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o, Ã¢ÂÂthere was no running, didnÃ¢ÂÂt get the midfield going and did little up front.Ã¢ÂÂ
The victory at a ground where Mallorca had been fairly dominant this season has swung the blogÃ¢ÂÂs title-o-meter to 65%-35% in favour of a Barcelona victory.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs less perky than previously for the Catalan club due to a 5-1 win for Sevilla - the side PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys face in the SÃÂ¡nchez PizjuÃÂ¡n on Saturday - away at Racing. The result was, however, more than a little flattering to Sevilla, thanks to the utter uselessness of the Santander side that is now in serious relegation do-do, just one point and one place above third-from-bottom Tenerife.
Valladolid are probably all but down after a 3-1 defeat to a curiously interested in league football again AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid, although Javier Clemente was claiming that his Pucela side was owed not one, not two, but three penalties by a referee who should be given some kind of torture involving Ã¢ÂÂanisakisÃ¢ÂÂ according to Clemente - which is either some kind of parasite or maybe a Basque drink the blog has never heard of.
A second-half penalty from Colunga puts Zaragoza on 40 points and all but safe with two matches to go. The same cannot be said for MÃÂ¡laga who sneaked a point away from home at the failing fast Athletic Bilbao and have now racked up five draws in a row.
OsasunaÃ¢ÂÂs 3-1 win over Deportivo sees the home side snug in midtable, but with the Galician goal-missers having lost eight of their last eleven games.
The second-to-last round of matches kick off before you know it on Saturday - and all at 9pm Spanish time, already making MondayÃ¢ÂÂs Good day, Bad day review more than a little sketchy.
What could happen this weekend:
Title - if BarÃÂ§a beat Sevilla away and Real Madrid fail to beat Athletic at the Bernabeu, Barcelona are champions.
Champions League - Valencia have secured third. If Sevilla beat BarÃÂ§a and Mallorca lose away to Depor then Sevilla grab fourth.
Europa League - Mallorca all but guaranteed a spot, providing they donÃ¢ÂÂt go bankrupt. Getafe, Villarreal and Athletic are fighting for the other place. But look inept at the moment.
Relegation - Xerez are all but relegated. If Valladolid stumble at home to Racing, then they could be done for too.