Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid took a decisive and possibly season defining 3-0 win away to local rivals in the last Madrid derby to be played in Atletico’s Vicente Calderon Stadium.
The Portuguese midfielder scored a deflected first half free kick and added a penalty and a tap-in after the break to seal the win and kill off any hopes of a second half Atletico revival.
The win leaves Real nine points clear of their neighbors and takes them five ahead of Barca, who could only draw against Malaga.
Anyone expecting Atletico to take the last derby to be played in the Vicente Calderon by the scruff of the neck was to be disappointed as after weathering a brief initial storm, it was Real who took control.
Led by Isco, who seemed to be everywhere on the pitch, the visitors began to carve out a series of chances and Jan Oblak had to be at his best to block a Cristiano Ronaldo header on the line.
Real Madrid were controlling the ball as Atletico wasted possession in a series of long passes and after Luka Modric saw a shot saved by Oblak they took the lead.
There was more than a stroke of luck as Ronaldo’s waist high free kick found a gap in the Atletico wall and took a big deflection to leave Oblak helpless, but it was probably deserved and Cristiano Ronaldo could have added a second on the half hour as he turned his marker, but was unable to beat Oblak with another low shot.
The rest of the half saw the same tonic as the home side tried and failed to test Keylor Navas in the Real Madrid goal.
Atletico came out strongly after the break with Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann both fired wide, but it was virtually game over in the 70th minute when Stefan Savic was adjudged to have fouled Ronaldo in the penalty area and the Portuguese striker sent Oblak the wrong way from the spot.
Six minutes later he was on hand to tap home a Bale cross after a textbook break and that was the sign for some home fans to start leaving. The fact is that although there were 15 minutes remaining, it was game over.