MADRID (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti believes Cristiano Ronaldo’s three-week break at the start of the season to ease knee and hamstring injuries is the reason for the Portuguese’s sensational form.
Ronaldo scored four goals in a 5-1 thrashing of Elche on Wednesday to register 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.
The Portuguese captain now has 12 goals in just eight appearances this season.
However, he missed his country’s embarrassing 1-0 home defeat to Albania this month, as well as Madrid’s 4-2 loss to Real Sociedad to rest after a gruelling schedule as Los Blancos won their 10th European Cup in May before he travelled to the World Cup.
“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.”
Ronaldo’s night at the Bernadene on Tuesday hadn’t gotten off to the best start as he 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.
“Although I complained to the referee, it was a penalty. I have to admit it,” said Ronaldo.
“I didn’t expect it. It all went very quickly, but the referee made the right decision.”
Madrid were only behind for five minutes, though, as Gareth Bale headed home his fourth goal of the campaign before Ronaldo put the hosts in front with a penalty of his own.
Ronaldo doubled his tally for the evening with a towering header to make it 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 teammates for passing me the ball to be able to score.
“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 had taken the opportunity to make four changes to his side from the one that routed 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.
“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.”
However, Ancelotti refused to close the debate on whether Casillas will return away to Villarreal at the weekend or whether Navas is his new number one.
“We will see on Saturday. That gives us a few extra days to discuss the topic.”