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Oct 1, 2012

Hat-trick hero Ronaldo praises Real

Cristiano Ronaldo said he was happy with a job well done after his first hat-trick of the new season helped Real Madrid to a 5-1 La Liga win over Deportivo la Coruna at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

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Despite going behind to Riki's early opener, Real took control before half-time through Ronaldo's first penalty of the evening and close-range headers from the Portugal star and compatriot Angel di Maria.

Pepe headed in Madrid's fourth before Ronaldo claimed the match ball with his second spot-kick of the game after substitute Kaka's cross was handled.

The ex-Manchester United man, who seems over his recent bout of "sadness", told Spanish TV afterwards that Madrid had taken a while to get into the game, but had never doubted that they could take three badly-needed points.

"We began the game a bit lethargically, but after 1-0 we came back well," Ronaldo said. "We felt we could come back. We knew we could not slip up and give away more points."

Minds in Madrid turned immediately after the game to Real's La Liga Clasico at Barcelona next Sunday, with Jose Mourinho's side needing to a win to eat into Barcelona's current eight-point lead.

Ronaldo said Real were more than capable of repeating last season's league victory at the Camp Nou, explaining: "We know that Barcelona is difficult. We are playing away, but we need to be focused and trust ourselves to win there. We have the quality to win there... we will see what happens."

Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka was not looking so far ahead when he spoke to journalists after the game, preferring to focus on the Champions League group game at Ajax on Wednesday.

"We need to just concentrate on our own games and our own points," he said. "Now we are just thinking about the game in Amsterdam. We want to keep growing and winning games."

Thinking of challenges to come, Mourinho gave playmaker Xabi Alonso a rare rest, and Karanka praised the performance of Sami Khedira, who was playing in a more withdrawn role than usual.

"Khedira played in the middle and he stood out for us," he said. "He played a really excellent game."

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