Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both hit hat-tricks as Barcelona and Real Madrid went on a Spanish goal rampage on Saturday, shrugging off worryingly lackluster midweek performances.
Argentine magician Messi registered his 12th career hat-trick in a Barcelona shirt in a 5-0 mauling of Atletico Madrid as the defending champions moved into second place in the table, a point behind Real Betis Balompie.
Messi, who also hit three in the 8-0 rout of Sporting de Gijon last weekend, leads La Liga goalscoring charts with eight, one in front of Portuguese star Ronaldo, whose hat-trick came in the 6-2 defeat of Rayo Vallecano de Madrid.
Real are in fourth place, one point behind Barcelona and third-placed Sevilla.
Atletico had gone into the game at Camp Nou with the league’s best defensive record, having conceded just once in four games.
However, once Portuguese midfielder Tiago Mendes hit their crossbar on four minutes it was one way traffic all the way with Barca, who were held 2-2 by Valencia in midweek, at their dominant best.
David Villa opened the scoring on nine minutes with the second coming on 15 minutes when a quick piece of attacking play found Messi free in the area and his blocked shot bounced off the unlucky Brazilian Miranda into an open net.
After 26 minutes, it was Messi again who burst into the penalty area from the right and beat goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a low left footed drive.
Messi finished a diagonal run on 78 minutes with a clipped shot into the bottom right-hand corner and rounded off his display in the 90th minute, exchanging a one-two with Villa before hitting a powerful shot home from the left hand side of the area.
Ronaldo’s hat-trick included two penalties with the other goals coming from Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema and Rafael Varane on his home debut.
Earlier, evergreen striker Frederic Kanoute scored the only goal as unbeaten Sevilla sent Valencia crashing to their first defeat, despite finishing the match with just nine men.
In other action, Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal played to a 1-1 draw.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017