Ronaldo scores 5 goals as Madrid routs Espanyol 6-0

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo scored five goals for Real Madrid for the second time in a 6-0 rout of Espanyol in the Spanish league on Saturday.

Held scoreless in the first two rounds, Ronaldo exploded with a blistering hat trick in the seventh, 17th and 20th minutes before setting up Karim Benzema to make it 4-0 before halftime in Barcelona.

The Portugal forward added two more goals in the second half against the hosts' demoralized defense.

Ronaldo also scored five goals in a 9-1 win over Granada on April 5.

Madrid bettered its 5-0 crushing of Real Betis from the last round - to go with a scoreless draw at Sporting Gijon in the season opener- before Barcelona visits Atletico Madrid later in a clash between the last two league champions.

Ronaldo's first goal was set up by a long pass from Luka Modric, who spotted his run into the gap on the left flank. Ronaldo did the rest by slotting a right-footed shot inside the far post.

Gareth Bale set up three of Ronaldo's goals, starting with a spot kick after the Welshman was fouled by Alvaro Gonzalez in the area. Ronaldo fired in the penalty past outstretched goalkeeper Pau Lopez.

Bale then crossed for Ronaldo, who outmuscled Gonzalez and grabbed his third goal that put the result beyond doubt.

Bale also played a part in Benzema's goal in the 28th. Ronaldo received Bale's through ball and sent it across the goalmouth for Benzema to tap home. Benzema almost grabbed a second goal with a strike that hit the post two minutes before halftime.

Ronaldo was all alone to turn in Bale's pass in the 61st and take his fifth from substitute Lucas Vazquez's assist in the 81st.

Valencia also visits Sporting Gijon later, while Real Sociedad is at Betis.