La Liga Review: Ronaldo hat-trick helps Real stay top, Atletico keep pace
Ronaldo moved to 200 La Liga goals with a record 23rd Spanish top-flight hat-trick - surpassing Telmo Zarra and Alfredo Di Stefano's treble hauls - at The Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
The Portugal star celebrated his Ballon d'Or nomination in stunning style by scoring all three goals in a routine win, which also saw Real equal Barcelona's all-time Spanish record of 18 consecutive wins in all competitions from the 2005-06 season.
Ronaldo netted his first in dubious fashion as he converted a penalty after he was deemed to have been fouled inside the area.
There was little doubt about the other two, though, as Ronaldo shrugged off several uncharacteristic misses to send Real on their way to a comfortable triumph.
Ronaldo scored his second with 25 minutes to go, firing in from the edge of the area, before completing his landmark hat-trick in the dying stages by tapping in Marcelo's low cross.
Victory saw Real consolidate their place at the top of the table, four points ahead of city rivals Atletico, who accounted for Elche 2-0.
Jose Gimenez's first-half strike sent the visitors on their way to victory and Mario Mandzukic's eighth goal in nine matches across all competitions secured the three points for Atletico just after the break.
Atletico did find their hosts hard to break down on occasions at Estadio Martinez Valero, although it came as no surprise when their opening goal arrived after a well-worked set piece.
Gimenez drilled in an unstoppable half-volley to break the deadlock, with Elche subsequently struggling to gain any foothold in the contest.
Fran Escriba's men appeared more fluid going forward right at the start of the second period, but that only seemed to play into Atletico's hands, as Mandzukic finished a swift counterattack by claiming his sixth La Liga goal.
Sixth-placed Malaga ended a run of back-to-back defeats thanks to a narrow 1-0 win at lowly Deportivo La Coruna.
Sergi Darder's 21st-minute goal condemned second-bottom Deportivo to a sixth league game without a win.
Meanwhile, Atletico Bilbao were stunned 1-0 by relegation-threatened Cordoba.