MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick as Real Madrid warmed up for their Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain with a big 5-2 victory over Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.
Zinedine Zidane's side have not scaled their usual heights this season and this was still not perfect, but they do look to be finding some form just in time for a potentially season-defining tie with the French side.
They blew Real Sociedad apart in the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu, taking the lead inside a minute through Lucas Vazquez and finding themselves four goals to the good by the interval.
Toni Kroos got Real's other goal, as they made it three wins and a draw from their last four La Liga games, with 18 goals scored in that time.
The defensive lapses that allowed the visitors to pull two goals back late on will be a concern for Zidane, though.
The quickest goal on Saturday was not scored by Real, but by Antoine Griezmann, who needed only 39 seconds to find the net in Atletico Madrid's 1-0 win at bottom side Malaga that left them just six points off top spot.
The French striker fired home his eighth league goal of the campaign from inside the box after a Saul Niguez shot was deflected into his path.
It was Atletico's eighth victory by a 1-0 margin in La Liga this season and put some pressure back on Barcelona, although they can again move nine points clear at the top by beating Getafe at the Camp Nou on Sunday.
"We knew it was going to be difficult, but these are the kind of games we enjoy playing," Griezmann told beIN Sports. "Now we need to keep fighting and trying to win all the games we have left, and then we'll see.”