Ronaldo Hit Hat-trick But Real Miss Out
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his seventh hat-trick of the season to give Real Madrid victory at Espanyol as Barcelona won the title.
Ronaldo fired low under Kiko Casilla to make it 1-0 but Espanyol equalised through Cristhian Stuani after an error from Madrid keeper Keylor Navas.
Marcelo made it 2-1 with a firm drive before Ronaldo added the third from 12 yards.
The Portugal star then headed in his third from James Rodriguez’s cross.
Trailing Barcelona by four points before kick-off, Real needed to better their rivals’ result to take the title race to the last match of the campaign.
Los Blancos did their bit but they needed a favour from neighbours Atletico Madrid, which did not come as Barca won 1-0 in the Spanish capital.
Ronaldo’s treble took his tally for the season to 45 in La Liga – four ahead of Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who hit the winner for his club.
Ronaldo’s first came when he latched on to Karim Benzema’s through ball and beat Casilla with a left-foot finish.
Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti chose to drop Iker Casillas in favour of Navas but the back-up goalkeeper was at fault as Espanyol equalised.
His heavy touch after Pepe’s back-pass allowed Stuani to close him down. A scuffed clearance fell to Sergio Garcia who fed Stuani to score from close range.
Casillas, 33, and Navas, 28, have both made high-profile mistakes in recent matches for Madrid, who continue to be linked with a move for Manchester United’s David De Gea.
Espanyol were level for six minutes before Ronaldo cut the ball back to Marcelo and the Brazilian full-back rifled in his first league goal of the season.
Four minutes later, Ronaldo scored his second when substitute Javier Hernandez – on loan from United – raced on to Marcelo’s long ball and hooked the ball back for his team-mate to score.
Ronaldo, 30, completed his hat-trick in stoppage time with a downward header at the back post after Rodriguez’s cross from the left but it proved in vain as Barcelona saw out the victory they needed to end Madrid’s championship chances.
It means Madrid have won La Liga only once in the past seven seasons.