'Angry' Ronaldo ends goal drought to leave Alaves fuming
By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) - Cristiano Ronaldo channelled his inner rage at his slow start to the season to score a hat-trick in Real Madrid's 4-1 win over Alaves that stretched the European champions' lead at the top of La Liga.
Instead, it was his furious opponents who were left fuming after a controversial penalty decision that arguably changed the game.
Real coach Zinedine Zidane had declared on Friday that Ronaldo, Real's all-time top scorer, was "angry" with a return of just two goals in the league, his worst start to a campaign since moving to the Spanish capital in 2009.
The three-times world player of the year managed to double his domestic tally in the opening 33 minutes, confidently stroking a penalty home after Deyverson had given Alaves a shock lead.
He then latched onto a through-ball by Karim Benzema to smash his second into the far top corner, with the help of a deflection.
Ronaldo looked set to complete his treble when he was brought down in the area in the second half, but this time former Real goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco guessed correctly to save his spot-kick.
It only delayed the inevitable, though. After Alvaro Morata's chip had put the game out of Alaves' sight, Ronaldo played a one-two with Marcelo in the area to crash in his first hat-trick for Real since Apr. 12, when he scored all the goals in a 3-0 Champions League quarter-final win over Wolfsburg.
"I have nothing to say about Cristiano. He says it all himself on the pitch," said Zidane.
"Cristiano never went away. He has a huge presence in every game and is a constant threat," added former Real striker and club director Emilio Butragueno.
"He's a fundamental player. It's a privilege to have him, as he's almost capable of winning a game on his own."
While Real were singing the praises of their talisman, Alaves defender Alexis Ruano was fiercely critical of referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez, who awarded the first penalty for handball when Deyverson appeared to block Gareth Bale's free-kick with his shoulder.
"If that happened to Madrid he wouldn't have given it, I'm 100 percent sure about that," Ruano told Movistar Plus.
"It had an impact because we were in front and then the referee gives that. I think the referee was very bad today. He was lamentable. This always happens to the smaller team, I'm a little tired of the same thing happening again and again."
(Reporting by Richard Martin,; Editing by Neville Dalton)