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Ronaldo lays boot into struggling Real Sociedad

Portuguese forward bags hat-trick in rout as Granada enters upper ranks

Cristiano scores Real Madrid's fifth from the penalty spot.
Cristiano scores Real Madrid's fifth from the penalty spot. DIARIO AS

“The Ballon d’Or? I do my talking on the field,” said Cristiano Ronaldo after yet another hat-trick had sunk Real Sociedad in the Bernabéu and taken the Portugal captain’s goal tally for the calendar year to 62. Whether or not Ronaldo will be adjudged the best player of 2013 and prevent Leo Messi from claiming a staggering fifth consecutive trophy — something Franck Ribéry will also have a say in come January — is uncertain, but at this rate it will not be long before the Real number 7 has smashed every club record going.

It took Raúl 741 games to score 323 goals for Real; Ronaldo has 225 in 216 games and this season the Portuguese will probably move ahead of Carlos Santillana in league strikes, with 25 required to move into third behind the great Alfredo di Stéfano.

In the meantime, Real’s cruising 5-1 win kept up the pressure on Atlético Madrid and Barcelona, both of whom were due to play late on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Granada moved into the top 10 with a creditable 3-1 win over Málaga, which was made to pay dearly for its defensive errors. Youssef El-Arabi helped himself to a hat-trick, the Morocco striker’s legend growing by the week; he has scored all but one of Granada’s goals in the Nuevo Los Cármenes this season.

Athletic increased its advantage over Getafe in the Europa League spots with a 2-1 home win over Levante that required a fightback from a goal down. Victory moved the Basque club provisionally level on points with Villarreal, which occupies the last Champions League spot — and the only one likely to be open to the rest of the league behind Barça, Atlético and Real Madrid.

Other results: Osasuna 0-1 Almería; Getafe 1-1 Elche; Celta 0-2 Rayo; Espanyol 1-3 Sevilla.