Bale fires first Madrid hat-trick in Valladolid rout
December 1, 2013 -- Updated 0032 GMT (0832 HKT)
A beaming Gareth Bale celebrates after completing his hat-trick against Real Valladolid on Saturday.
- 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."
Belounis backs Qatar as World Cup hosts
UK match-fixing arrests
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.
Read more: An unlikely backer of Qatar World Cup
Read more: Six arrested in UK over match-fixing probe
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.