Bale makes Madrid mark, but upstaged by Ronaldo

MADRID (AP) Gareth Bale finally made his mark at Real Madrid on Wednesday, only for Cristiano Ronaldo to upstage his two-goal performance with a hat-trick in a 7-3 victory over Sevilla.

The Welshman celebrated his first league start at the Santiago Bernabeu by scoring twice and setting up two more.

But it was Ronaldo who responded to FIFA president Sepp Blatter's mocking of the Portugal forward with a celebration slight of his own as he passed Ferenc Puskas with his 157th league goal for Madrid, the fifth-best in the club's history.

Karim Benzema capped the 10-goal thriller with his second goal, while Ivan Rakitic scored twice for Sevilla but sent a penalty the third of the match into the stands with a hat-trick beckoning. Carlos Bacca also scored for the visitors.

Bale, the world's most expensive footballer, helped Madrid rebound from Saturday's 2-1 loss at league leader Barcelona to stay within six points of its rival.

"I showed what I was capable of tonight," Bale told Canal Plus.

Earlier, Almeria rallied from a goal down to beat Valencia 2-1 and record its first win of the season.

Also, Real Sociedad goalkeeper Claudio Bravo saved Patrick Ebert's stoppage time penalty to preserve a 2-2 draw at Valladolid, and Osasuna beat up Rayo Vallecano 3-1.

Madrid got off to a flying start thanks to Bale, who was picked out by Benzema inside the area for a rising shot into the top left corner in the 13th minute.

Ronaldo displayed uncharacteristic selflessness on the field by allowing Bale to take a 27th-minute free kick, and the Wales forward saw his shot deflect off the defensive wall and beat goalkeeper Beto to make it 2-0.

Despite playing a full 90 minutes for the first time this season, Bale said he still wasn't 100 percent.

"It was a crazy game to be involved in but the most important thing for us is to get the three points," Bale said. "We let in a few goals we were disappointed about, but we bounced back and got the win."

Ronaldo stepped up to slot home a 32nd-minute penalty after Fernando Navarro barged into Isco. The former world player of the year celebrated with a military salute, an apparent reference to Blatter's recent mocking of him when the FIFA president portrayed the Portugal forward as an army commander.

Referee Teixeira Vitienes then awarded Sevilla a questionable penalty as Sergio Ramos tussled with Figueiras inside the area, and Rakitic stepped up to score from the spot.

Bacca made it 3-2 before halftime, but Benzema soon began extending Madrid's lead after the break. The France striker showed his class by gathering Bale's cross in the 53rd minute and coolly slotting low into the net.

Bale turned provider again seven minutes later as Ronaldo steered his centering pass past Beto.

Sevilla wasn't finished as Rakitic curled a left-footed shot across the area into the top corner in the 63rd for his seventh goal of the season.

Xabi Alonso made his first appearance of the season for Madrid before Ronaldo surpassed Puskas in the 72nd when his shot deflected over Beto.

Ronaldo, who is the league's joint top scorer with Diego Costa on 11 goals, became the first player in league history to score a hat-trick against the same team in four consecutive seasons.

The Portugal forward had little time to savor the feat before his tackle on Figueiras led to Rakitic's 73rd-minute penalty. But he celebrated after the Croatia playmaker shot high into the crowd.

Benzema headed home a Marcelo cross in the 80th minute, moments after Sevilla's Stephane Mbia was sent off after a second booking.

"Bale played well, he looked really good scoring goals and showing a good understanding with Cristiano," Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "In no time we'll be a good, compact team."

Madrid is on 25 points. Barcelona, which won 3-0 at Celta Vigo on Tuesday, leads with 31 points. Atletico Madrid has 27 points going into Thursday's game at Granada.

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Follow Paul Logothetis on Twitter @PaulLogoAP

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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