Bale and Ronaldo star as Real hammer Sevilla

Gareth Bale scored twice and Cristiano Ronaldo notched up a hat-trick as Real Madrid thrashed Sevilla 7-3 on Wednesday in their league clash.

Bale and Ronaldo star as Real hammer Sevilla
The Portuguese star (R) celebrated one of his goals with a military salute, in reference to Fifa president Sepp Blatter's comments that Ronaldo was like "a commander on the pitch. Photo: Gerard Julien

Bale was making his first start at the Santiago Bernabeu and made an immediate impact as he put the hosts 2-0 up within half an hour.

Ronaldo then added a third, but Sevilla fought back through an Ivan Rakitic penalty and Carlos Bacca.

Bale then set up Karim Benzema and Ronaldo to put Real 5-2 ahead before Rakitic replied once more with a stunning strike for Sevilla, although he was to blot his copybook by missing a penalty later.

Ronaldo went on to complete his hat-trick and Benzema rounded off the scoring after Sevilla had been reduced to 10 men when Stephane Mbia was sent-off with 14 minutes remaining.

Xabi Alonso also made his first appearance of the season as a second-half substitute to round off a fine evening for Madrid.

And he believes Bale's brace could be his launching pad to take La Liga by storm.

"He needed a settling in period to the league because it is different to the Premier League.

"We too needed to get to know him, but I am sure that he will keep improving."

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti had made four changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Barcelona at the weekend with Benzema restored to the number nine role between Ronaldo and Bale in attack.

And the Frenchman proved his worth in the move for the opener as he raced onto Isco's pass before cutting the ball back for Bale to fire high into the net on his favoured left foot.

Bale was credited with his second of the evening on 27 minutes when his free-kick took a huge deflection off the arm of Alberto Moreno and looped into the net past the helpless Beto.

Five minutes later it was 3-0 when Isco was unnecessarily dragged down inside the area by Fernando Navarro.

Ronaldo stepped up to fire home and celebrated with a military salute in a mocking response to Sepp Blatter's description of him as a "commander" last week.

"I didn't see the celebration because I was on the bench at the time," added Alonso.

"But he did well in treating it with irony because he is above all these things."

Yet somehow Sevilla were back in the game before half-time when firstly Sergio Ramos was harshly penalised for a push on Diogo Figueiras and Rakitic converted the resulting penalty.

And two minutes later Vitolo ghosted past Alvaro Arbeloa on the right and squared for Bacca to roll into an empty net.

Sevilla could even have been level just after the break when Jairo was denied by Diego Lopez when clean through on goal.

However, seconds later a trademark Madrid break saw Ronaldo feed Bale and his cut-back was calmly slotted home by Benzema for his first goal in eight games.

Bale then provided his second assist of the evening seven minutes later as his low cross was swept home by Ronaldo.

Even at 5-2 the action was far from over as Bale was lucky to escape a booking when he threw himself to the ground looking for a penalty moments later.

And with the Real crowd still infuriated by the referee's decision not to award a penalty for that incident, Rakitic curled in a wonderful effort from outside the box to make it 5-3.

Ronaldo made the game safe when he sealed his hat-trick with a deflected effort from the edge of the area.

Rakitic, though, should have completed hat-trick of his own when Ronaldo was penalised for a foul on Figueiras just inside the area, but the Croat ballooned his second spot-kick well over the bar.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men shortly after when Mbia was shown a second yellow card after clashing with Luka Modric.

And Benzema rounded off a wild night when he headed home Marcelo's cross 11 minutes from time.

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Black Lives Matter: Marcelo ‘takes the knee’ to celebrate Real Madrid win

Marcelo celebrated by taking a knee as Real Madrid returned from three months away following the coronavirus suspension by beating Eibar 3-1 on Sunday.

Black Lives Matter: Marcelo 'takes the knee' to celebrate Real Madrid win
Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo kneels on the field to celebrate his goal. Photo: AFP

After scoring Madrid's third goal in the 37th minute, Marcelo dropped onto his left knee and raised his clinched right fist into the air, apparently in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Madrid's win may have come at a cost as Eden Hazard and Sergio Ramos were both substituted early in the second half and were seen with ice packs strapped to them while sitting in the stands.

Hazard was making his first start since February and his ice pack appeared to be around his troublesome right ankle, which he injured in November and February, before undergoing surgery in March.

“We knew Eden would lack a bit of rhythm playing the whole game,” coach Zinedine Zidane said.

“He played well for an hour, he took a knock which was a scare but at half-time he said he was fine. He is happy with what he has done and we are happy with him.”

Madrid's win means they reduce the gap behind league leaders Barcelona back to two points after the Catalans thrashed Real Mallorca 4-0 on Saturday.    

Madrid struck in the fourth minute after a superb strike from Toni Kroos before Ramos tucked away Hazard's pass on the counter-attack.    

Eibar pulled one back in the second half through Pedro Bigas but never found the second to make Madrid nervous, despite a brief spell of pressure.    

Before going off, Hazard was busy, the Belgian involved in all three goals.    

His weaving run through midfield led to Kroos' shot and it was his effort that was cleared out to Marcelo, who drove into the corner.    

After a miserable opening season in Spain, it was a bright start for Hazard, who could now redeem himself by playing a crucial role in the run-in, if he can stay injury-free.

Perhaps even more impressive though was Karim Benzema, who linked up brilliantly with Hazard and was unfortunate not to get the goal an excellent all-round performance deserved.

Gareth Bale started on the bench but came on and could start against Valencia on Thursday.

Zidane is likely to rotate heavily over the next few weeks, with the games coming thick and fast.

New surroundings

Madrid's coach will also have been pleased to get off to a positive start in their new training ground home, which was the 100th different stadium to be used in La Liga.

They will be playing all their remaining home matches at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium to allow renovation work at the Santiago Bernabeu to continue this summer.

“We know the situation, it's all a bit strange,” said Zidane. “But the players are all champions and we have to get our heads around it.”    

Barca had needed less than two minutes to score against Mallorca and Madrid were only slightly later, as Hazard broke through Eibar's midfield and Casemiro set Benzema free.

The ball was cleared to Kroos on the edge of the area, who struck first time, sidefooting perfectly into the far top right-hand corner.   

Ramos doubled their advantage after starting, and finishing, a ruthless counter-attack. In between, Benzema and Hazard were involved again, the former picking out the latter, who generously gave Ramos an open goal.

Marcelo put Eibar all but out of sight before half-time as Benzema played through for Hazard and his shot spilled out to Marcelo to lash into the corner.

Eibar were better after the break as Edu Exposito forced a full-stretch save from Thibaut Courtois and then Sergi Enrich headed against the crossbar. 

Bigas did score after diverting in Pedro Leon's shot but Madrid held on.    

Earlier, Diego Costa scored his first goal since October but Atletico Madrid missed the chance to move into La Liga's top four by drawing 1-1 away at Athletic Bilbao.

Costa celebrated by holding up the shirt of Virgina Torrecilla, a player from Atletico's women's team, who underwent surgery on a brain tumour last month.

His equaliser came two minutes after the excellent Iker Muniain had given Bilbao the lead towards the end of the first half and neither side could find a winner at the empty San Mames, with Atletico defender Santiago Arias missing the best chance late on.

Diego Simeone's side stay sixth, level on points with Getafe and one behind Real Sociedad, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Osasuna.