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Ronaldo grabs hat-trick ahead of United tie

Phenomenon... Cristiano Ronaldo.

Phenomenon... Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo warmed up in style for Wednesday’s Champions League showdown with former club Manchester United by claiming a hat-trick and an assist as Real Madrid crushed Sevilla 4-1 in La Liga on Saturday night.

The Portuguese forward, who became the world’s most expensive player when he joined Real from United in 2009, set up Karim Benzema to open the scoring from close range in the 18th minute.

Ronaldo doubled the home side’s lead with a powerful left-foot strike eight minutes later and added his second in the 46th minute after a blunder in the Sevilla defence.

The 28-year-old completed his treble in the 59th minute when he started and finished a swift break to chalk up the 21st hat-trick of his career and his 17th in La Liga.

Ronaldo took his tally for the season to 24 league goals, 11 behind Lionel Messi of Barcelona.

“We have a phenomenon (in Ronaldo). I cannot recall anything like it,” Real director and former club great Emilio Butragueno said.

Meanwhile, Messi notched up his 35th league goal of the season as Barcelona strolled to a crushing 6-1 home win against Getafe yesterday.

Alexis Sanchez and David Villa made the most of a rare place in the starting line-up with goals either side of Messi’s strike and Andres Iniesta, Cristian Tello and Gerard Pique were also on the scoresheet as Barca moved on to 62 points.

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