A beaming Gareth Bale celebrates after completing his hat-trick against Real Valladolid on Saturday.

Story highlights

Welshman nets first hat-trick for new club in 4-0 win over Real Valladolid

Real move to within three points of leaders Barcelona who face Bilbao on Sunday

Atletico Madrid level on points with Gerardo Martino's side following 2-0 over Elche

CNN  — 

Gareth Bale netted his first hat-trick for Real Madrid in a 4-0 win against Real Valladolid at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

With Cristiano Ronaldo sitting out the game with a hamstring injury, the world-record signing took center stage as Real kept up the pressure on league leaders Barcelona.

Bale popped up to score Real’s first in the 33rd minute, nodding the ball home after goalkeeper Diego Marino had palmed the ball into the Welshman’s path.

Karim Benzema doubled the lead three minutes later with another header, before Bale netted twice in the second half.

The first, a neat side-foot finish from 10 yards arrived in the 64th minute while the second came moments before the final whistle as Bale swept home his ninth goal in total for his new club following a cut-back from Marcelo.

“I think that his adaption period has finished as I said yesterday,” Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

“He is a very important player for us, he is playing with confidence and he did very well today.”

The win moves Real to within three points of Barcelona who travel to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

City rivals Atletico also continued their dogged pursuit of Gerardo Martino’s side on Saturday with a 2-0 win at Elche.

Second-half goals from Koke and Diego Costa earned Diego Simeone’s men a valuable three points and moves them level with the Catalan club on 40 points.

Koke broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute poking the ball home from close range before Costa doubled the lead 11 minutes later firing home his 18th goal of the season.

In La Liga’s other matches played Saturday, Celta Vigo earned a valuable 3-1 win over Almeria. The victory lifts Luis Enrique’s side up to 14th ahead of Malaga who drew 1-1 with Villarreal on Friday.

Almeria remains third from bottom with 12 points.

An 88th minute own goal by Espanyol striker Christian Stuani gave Real Sociedad a 2-1 win and moves Jagoba Arrasate’s side back into sixth spot.

Jhon Cordoba had given Espanyol the lead in the 31st minute with Antoine Griezmann leveling the scores in the 69th minute before Stuani sliced an attempted clearance into his own net.

Both Saturday fixtures in Serie A finished in 1-1 draws. Antonio Cassano scored for ninth-placed Parma after Panagiotis Kone had put Bologna ahead.

Mid-table Torino went ahead in their match at Genoa thanks to an early goal from Omar El Kaddouri but Davide Biondini’s second half strike ensured that the home side salvaged a point.

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