Match ends, Real Madrid 5, Athletic Club 0.
Cristiano Ronaldo's record-equalling 22nd La Liga hat-trick helped Real Madrid crush Athletic Bilbao and close to within four points of Barcelona.
Ronaldo's third treble in four league games drew him level with the tallies of Real legend Alfredo Di Stefano and ex-Athletic striker Telmo Zarra.
Headers from Ronaldo and Karim Benzema put Real 2-0 up at half-time.
Ronaldo tapped in his second and set up Benzema for Real's fourth before deflecting Pepe's shot into the corner.
The ball appeared to come off Ronaldo's arm but the referee awarded the goal to complete an emphatic win.
It was the World Player of the Year's 13th goal in six league games and his 17th of the season in all competitions.
|Most La Liga hat-tricks|
|Alfredo Di Stefano||22|
Ronaldo's extraordinary goalscoring form has been central to Real Madrid's recovery from two defeats in their first three league games.
Since a 2-1 home reverse by city rivals Atletico Madrid on 13 September, Real have won six games in a row and scored 27 goals in the process.
They now sit fourth in the league table, one point above Atletico and four behind leaders Barca.
Their latest procession began as early as the second minute when Gareth Bale pinged a cross from the right to the far post and Ronaldo headed past Gorka Iraizoz from close range.
Athletic, who have now secured only one point in their last five league games and are 18th in the table, looked a shadow of the side that finished fourth last season as they wilted under relentless Real pressure.
With half-time approaching, Luka Modric floated a corner to the edge of the six-yard box where Benzema rose highest to double the home side's lead.
Slick interplay between Benzema and Bale teed up Ronaldo to slot in the third before the Portuguese raced on to Modric's incisive pass and squared for Benzema to tap in.
Ronaldo missed several chances to complete his hat-trick, only to get there in the 88th minute via a stroke of luck.
Pepe's scuffed effort struck Ronaldo's arm and flew past Iraizoz to round off another glorious night for the Real number seven, but a chastening one for the Basques.
- 4RamosBooked at 28minsSubstituted forVaraneat 45'minutes
- 8KroosSubstituted forIllarramendiat 74'minutes
- 9BenzemaSubstituted forIscoat 79'minutes
- 7Cristiano Ronaldo
- 10De MarcosBooked at 25mins
- 24BalenziagaBooked at 34mins
- 17Rico Moreno
- 14SusaetaSubstituted forLópez Cabreraat 62'minutes
- 7Etxebarria UrkiagaSubstituted forGómezat 45'minutes
- 19MuniainSubstituted forEtxeitaat 74'minutes
- 22Fernández Hierro
- 6San José
- 13Herrerín Buisán
- 29López Cabrera
- Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Real Madrid 5, Athletic Club 0.
Marcelo (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Club).
Goal! Real Madrid 5, Athletic Club 0. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) with an attempt from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Pepe following a corner.
Corner, Real Madrid. Conceded by Óscar De Marcos.
Attempt saved. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is saved in the centre of the goal.
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Óscar De Marcos (Athletic Club).
Attempt saved. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Marcelo with a cross.
Attempt missed. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Gareth Bale.
Attempt saved. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Daniel Carvajal.
Substitution, Real Madrid. Isco replaces Karim Benzema.
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Xabier Etxeita (Athletic Club).
Attempt saved. Guillermo (Athletic Club) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, Athletic Club. Conceded by Pepe.
Attempt saved. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Daniel Carvajal with a cross.
Foul by Asier Illarramendi (Real Madrid).
Óscar De Marcos (Athletic Club) wins a free kick on the right wing.