x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Ronaldo's real incentive at Madrid

The Portuguese striker hits another hat-trick, his 12th for the Spanish club, but says it the win for the team that matters.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 12th hat-trick at Real Madrid ensured his team finished off Osasuna convincingly after a tight first half.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 12th hat-trick at Real Madrid ensured his team finished off Osasuna convincingly after a tight first half.

Cristiano Ronaldo insists the team's goals rather than his own remain of utmost importance as his hat-trick ensured they remained top of the Primera Liga heading into the international break.

The Portuguese star notched his 12th treble in a goal-laden Real career as the Madrid giants racked up a thumping 7-1 win over Osasuna at the Bernabeu.

Ronaldo collected the European Golden Boot earlier this week for his goal scoring exploits in the 2010/11 season but the 2011 Copa del Rey remains his only club accolade to date since his £80 million (Dh471m) move to Real from Manchester United in the summer of 2009, something he is keen to change.

He told www.realmadrid.com: "We knew Osasuna were a tough rival and the important thing was to win today. We had a good start to the match, we scored and played well in both halves.

"I'm very happy for scoring today, but what matters is the team won. We were favourites because we played at home and we knew we had to follow an opening strike with another, and another."

Karim Benzema scored twice after coming on as a second-half substitute, with Pepe and Gonzalo Higuain netting Real's other goals after Ibrahima Balde equalised for Osasuna following a quickly-taken free kick.

Another bright note for Jose Mourinho's men was a debut for the summer signing Nuri Sahin, who has been sidelined since joining from Borussia Dortmund by a knee injury, but on the down side for Real was a concerning injury for Angel Di Maria.

The Argentine wide man had set up all three of Real's first-half goals before he pulled up with what the club later confirmed was a left hamstring injury early in the second half.

Mourinho said Osasuna had given his side a tough time in the first half before pulling clear in the second to give the score line a flattering look.

He told www.marca.com: "The result does not fit the match in the first half. It took us into the game because they were well placed. In the final part of the first half we improved and did damage."

The result took Real to a 10th successive win in all competitions and Mourinho added: "We're playing well, we're playing serious. We deserve these 10 wins.

"The first half was tough for us playing against a well-organised team, but after they equalised we had a little luck to go back ahead.

"Then, in the second half, it is difficult for any team to play with 10 men. I do not remember a game we won and we have not deserved to. We are moving from good to very good games."

Mourinho welcomed Sahin's long-awaited debut and said: "It was the perfect match for Sahin. There was no physical or psychological pressure. He had a long time out and it was a good test today. He now has 15 days [during the international break] to continue improving his form."