Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo has now scored 24 hat-tricks in La Liga since joining Real Madrid in 2009.Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo came agonisingly close to scoring a double hat-trick, as Real Madrid cruised to an emphatic 9-1 victory over Granada on 5 April.

Former Manchester United favourite Ronaldo is engaged in another engrossing battle with Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi for the right to be crowned La Liga's top scorer and he moved four ahead of his great rival with a stunning five-goal haul at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real were held scoreless in the opening 25 minutes before Gareth Bale, who has been heavily criticised by supporters and certain sections of the Spanish media over recent weeks, broke the deadlock with a simple finish after rounding goalkeeper Oier Olazábal Paredes.

That initial effort opened the floodgates for the hosts, who went in at half-time boasting a comfortable 4-0 advantage after Ronaldo notched a hat-trick in just eight minutes after good work from the likes of Marcelo and the returning James Rodriguez.

Things went from bad to downright terrible for struggling Granada after the break, with Abel Resino's side simply unable to resist Real's vastly superior attacking prowess.

A quickfire brace from central striker Karim Benzema either side of another goal from the outstanding Ronaldo made it seven, before the beleaguered visitors eventually pulled one back with 16 minutes remaining courtesy of Roberto Ibáñez Castro.

Most teams would be content to settle for a commanding 7-1 win, yet there was still time for Real to add further gloss to a truly memorable scoreline as Diego Mainz put through his own net before Ronaldo, scoring five in one match for the first time in his career, rounded things off by heading home a Luka Modric free-kick.

That emphatic victory means Real are now back within a point of La Liga leaders Barcelona, with Messi and co set to face Celta Vigo next.