Real Madrid decimated an impoverished Malmo 8-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu in their last group stage match of the UEFA Champions league which naturally rewrote the record books. Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals and Karim Benzema bagged a hat-trick as Matteo Kovacic, the summer signing from Inter Milan scored his first goal for the ten-time European champions.
Los Blancos were assured of the top spot in group A even before kick-off and the players walked out on the field with nothing to lose. Rafa Benitez even rested some key players like Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos as Marcelo started on the bench. The travelling Malmo side proved too weak a challenge for the Madrid team which constitutes of some of the best players around, and the difference was there for everyone to see.
The Portuguese forward started the match with a total of seven goals in the group stages thus far with the record of maximum goals scored in the group stages in one Champions League season being nine, which was jointly held by the 30-year old himself along with Luiz Adriano of AC Milan.
Ronaldo first equalled his own record with his second goal which was scored in the 47th minute and just three minutes later he surpassed the nine-goal mark with his third goal of the match. He did not stop there, as he went on to add another in the 57th minute to score his 11th goal of the tournament and fourth of the match.
Notably, Ronaldo’s four goals came within a time-span of 19 minutes and this was the first instance that the Ballon D’Or nominee has scored four in a CL match.
This was the fifth season running where Ronaldo has scored in double figures in a single Champions League campaign.
Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo became the first players to both score hat-tricks in a single match in the Champions League era. The Portuguese talisman also tops the list of players who have been involved in most number of goals in the Champions League since the 2012-13 season, some way ahead of Lionel Messi at second on the list.
Ronaldo also equalled the record of goals scored from direct free-kicks in the Champions League since 2003-04 season. This was his tenth goal from a direct free-kick and Juninho is the only other player who has scored as many as him.
Real Madrid levelled the record of the biggest margin of victory in a Champions League match, which is eight goals. The only other team to have achieved the feat was Liverpool, who thrashed Besiktas 8-0 back in 2007, and surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), both the teams were managed by Rafa Benitez. Madrid became the third team to score eight goals in a CL match, with Monaco being the first team as they defeated PSV Eindhoven 8-3 in 2003.