Real Madrid are on a roll following Tuesday’s Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk, according to hat-trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo’s treble came inside 26 second-half minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu following Karim Benzema’s opener as Rafael Benitez enjoyed a solid European debut in charge of the club.
Two penalties and a close-range header took Ronaldo three goals clear of Lionel Messi in the goalscoring charts, with Real appearing to have found their feet after kicking the Benitez era off with a goalless draw at Sporting Gijon
While knocks to Gareth Bale, Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos dampened the mood somewhat at the Bernabeu, Ronaldo said: “I am very happy and I want to thank the players for the confidence they have given me.
“We know that the pre-season is less important and we knew that we had to start well in both La Liga and the Champions League.
“We didn’t start brilliantly in La Liga, with a draw, but since then we’ve been fine, more consistent, and now we’re on a roll.
“We are in a good moment, we must highlight the work of the team. We were consistent in defence and did a good job.
“Shakhtar played well, they are a team that has a lot of possession, but today was Real Madrid’s day to win playing well.”
Ronaldo had been tied on 77 goals with Messi prior to Tuesday with the pair’s long-running scoring tussle set to continue as Barcelona face Roma on Wednesday.
“I knew this [record] would come, naturally and without pressure,” he added to BT Sport.
“It’s good of course, I won’t lie, I feel so proud and happy but this is not my goal – my goal is to be good all season and help the team win, which is the most important, and to win collective trophies.
“I hope my goals help the team win but I feel confidence, I feel good and I want to carry on like that.”