Rising star Rodrygo scored a hat-trick and added an assist to lead Real Madrid to an easy 6-0 triumph over Galatasaray in Champions League Group A action on Wednesday night at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
In addition to the three goals scored by the 18-year-old Brazilian, Karim Benzema had a brace of his own and Sergio Ramos converted a penalty kick in what was an absolutely dominating performance from Los Blancos.
Coach Zinedine Zidane used the exact same XI that won in Istanbul last month, meaning was Rodrygo called upon to offer punch in attack with Benzema and Eden Hazard, while Fede Valverde slotted into the midfield with Casemiro and Toni Kroos.
Real Madrid hit the ground running and just minutes into the encounter it was 1-0 through Rodrygo. From the left flank, Marcelo curled a ball over the Galatasaray defence that reached Rodrygo, and the young Brazilian made a move to his left before unfurling a wicked, lowly driven shot that beat visiting goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.
Three minutes later, the Marcelo-Rodrygo partnership bore fruit again and gave the hosts a 2-0 advantage. Real Madrid pressured the Turkish side into a giveaway deep in their own half, and Marcelo connected with his countryman for a second time, with Rodrygo turning a header into the goal.
VAR would then enter the fray as the review of a replay of a Steven N’Zonzi foul on Kroos on the edge of the area resulted in a penalty. Ramos stepped up and calmly converted the spot-kick Panenka style to make it 3-0 with a quarter of an hour not even elapsed.
About the only thing that went wrong for Real Madrid in the first 45 minutes was Marcelo leaving early with an injury shortly before half time and being replaced by Ferland Mendy.
There was still one more goal for Real Madrid in the first half and it was gift-wrapped by Galatasaray defender Yuto Nagatomo, who sent a pass right to Rodrygo and the Brazilian quickly crossed to a wide-open Benzema for an easy push into net for a 4-0 lead.
Real Madrid’s overwhelming superiority in the first half made the second stanza a mere formality, with the only doubt being whether Rodrygo would notch a hat-trick or not. Zidane’s second substitution came on the hour mark, with Luka Modric on for Casemiro, followed shortly thereafter by Hazard yielding his spot to Isco.
The latter almost scored with his very first touch, a header off a corner kick that Muslera barely parried to safety. Real Madrid were still hungry to add a goal for the thumb, and the fifth goal would come off the boot of Benzema, who only had to convert from a metre out after a Dani Carvajal cross from the right to stretch things to 5-0.
The night then concluded in the same manner in which it started, with Rodrygo raising his arms in celebration of a goal. A one-two combination with Benzema saw Rodrygo easily sweep a shot in past Muslera to round out the 6-0 scoreline and earn the youngster his hat-trick.