Real Madrid faced the first of what will be multiple league games without Cristiano Ronaldo on Saturday and turned to Gareth Bale as their primary attacking outlet in his absence. Madrid's world record signing passed the big test with flying colors, turning in a dominant performance against Real Valladolid. He was by far the best player on the pitch, notching a hat trick and an assist in a 4-0 win.
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It was obvious from the outset that Valladolid were badly overmatched, but Juan Ignacio Martinez's side were able to hold on until late in the first half. Bale found the breakthrough in the 33rd minute, tapping in a rebound. Diego Villar was able to punch away a shot by Angel Di Maria, but Bale was perfectly positioned to finish off the chance. Three minutes later, he set up Karim Benzema's goal with a diagonal ball, helping to send Madrid into halftime up 2-0.
Bale notched his second in the 64th minute in similar fashion to the first goal. A cross into the center of the box from Di Maria was cleared by a Valladolid defender, but only as far as Bale, who buried his follow-up attempt. He completed his hat trick in the 89th minute, scoring yet again from close range off a low cross by Marcelo.
Madrid: Lopez, Marcelo, Pepe, Ramos, Carvajal, Alonso, Modric, Isco, Di Maria (Jese 74'), Benzema (Morata 74'), Bale
Goals: Bale (33', 64', 89'), Benzema (36')
Valladolid: Villar, Valiente, Rueda, Peña, Garcia, Rossi, Sastre (Osorio 85'), Rubio, Guerra (Manucho 74'), Larsson (Ramos 45'), Bergdich