MADRID, APril 5- Cristiano Ronaldo’s first ever five goal haul in the one match saw Real Madrid move to within a point of Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a stunning 9-1 thrashing of Granada on Sunday.
Gareth Bale continued his fine form after bagging a brace for Wales last weekend by opening the scoring after 25 minutes.
Ronaldo then took over as he scored three times in eight minutes just after the half hour mark.
Karim Benzema struck twice either side of Ronaldo’s fourth as Real added three more in a four-minute spell just after the break.
Robert Ibanez grabbed a consolation for the visitors, but Diego Mainz’s own goal made it 8-1 before Ronaldo rounded off the scoring with a towering header.
Meanwhile, Valencia’s outside hopes of a late title challenge were dented as they remain in fourth, seven points off the top, after a 0-0 draw at home to Villarreal.
Barca can restore their four-point lead when they visit Celta Vigo later on Sunday.
“Happy to have scored five goals with this excellent team work. Thank you for all your support,” Ronaldo posted on his official Twitter account.
Ronaldo’s quintuple takes him four clear of Lionel Messi in the race to be La Liga’s top goalscorer.
“Cristiano has improved as the team has,” said Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti.
“What more can I say about him? It is the first time he has scored five goals with Real Madrid which is great for him and for us looking forward to the next game.”
Chances soon began to flow for Madrid and Bale was first to capitalise when he latched onto Toni Kroos’s through ball to round Oier Olazabal and slot home from a narrow angle.
James Rodriguez made his return after two months out with a foot injury and sealed his comeback with a lovely assist with the outside of his left foot to allow Ronaldo to curl home his first of the afternoon.
The Portuguese soon made it 3-0 by lashing home from close range after Olazabal had spilled a cross and he sealed an eight-minute hat-trick with some more help from the Granada ‘keeper as he couldn’t keep out the World Player of the Year’s drive from 20 yards.
Granada offered embarrassingly little resistance after the break as Benzema was given plenty of time to control a corner from the left and fire home to make it 5-0.
Bale then unselfishly teed up Ronaldo to nod home his 46th goal of the season, although there was a brief scare for the home fans as Ronaldo collided with the frame of the goal in doing so but was soon back on his feet.
More shocking defending from Granada allowed Benzema to saunter through for a seventh barely 60 seconds later.
Granada pulled a goal back when Ibanez burst clear of Raphael Varane to slot past Casillas, but their miserable day was rounded off when Mainz could only turn Javier Hernandez’s cross into his own net.
And fittingly Ronaldo had the final word when he rose highest to power Luka Modric’s free-kick in at the far post.