Carlo Ancelotti believes Real Madrid are reaping from the three weeks break allotted to Cristiano Ronaldo at the start of the season, following the winger’s sensational form of late.
The reigning world footballer of the year scored four goals in Tuesday evening’s 5-1 win over Elche, completing his 25th hat-trick for the club and his second in four days after also scoring three in Real’s 8-2 humiliation of Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.
Ronaldo, who missed Real’s 4-2 loss at Real Sociedad and Portugal’s stunning 1-0 loss to Albania, now has 12 goals in just eight appearances this season.
The break served as time-off for the 28-year-old following a hectic summer, when he inspired the ‘Los Blancos’ to their tenth European Cup triumph as well as campaigning at the 2014 Fifa World Cup with Portugal and Ancelotti says its beginning to pay off.
“It is clear that has helped because he needed a period of time to work with the seriousness and professionalism he has,” said Ancelotti. “At the moment he is physically in very good shape, he is very motivated and he is scoring a lot.”
But Tuesday’s success at the Bernadene was not all rosy for the Portuguese superstar, who gave away a penalty as he tried to clear inside the area and Edu Albacar fired Elche into a shock lead from the penalty spot.
Gareth Bale leveled for Ancelotti’s men five minutes later- his fourth goal of the season- before Ronaldo put the hosts in front with a penalty of his own.
Ronaldo doubled his tally for the day with a towering header to increase scores to 3-1 and added two more goals in the final 10 minutes as he dispatched a second penalty before slotting home from Bale’s fine through ball.
“To score four goals is very difficult. I thank my team-mates for passing me the ball to be able to score,” Ronaldo noted.
“It was a very good game for us. We started a little badly, I gave away the penalty, but we responded well with two quick goals.”
Ancelotti made four changes to his side from the one that humiliated Deportivo. Keylor Navas replaced under fire captain Iker Casillas in goal and the Italian praised the contribution of those that came into the side.
“At the moment rotating is very important because we have all the players motivated and we have a lot of games,” Ancelotti said.
“We have another game on Saturday and I think it is normal to rotate to avoid problems. Today we rested Karim (Benzema) and (Luka) Modric and they will play on Saturday.”