Cristiano Ronaldo's unquestionable appetite for success is keeping Real Madrid's La Liga title hopes alive this season.
The Portuguese forward led Real's fightback from a goal down at Real Mallorca last night, rattling in his first La Liga hat-trick to take his season tally to 25 as his side won 4-1 on the Balearic island.
He has scored seven goals in the five games since Real lost 2-0 at home to Barcelona last month, and helped his side stay hot on the heels of the champions. They lie one point behind Pep Guardiola's team with two matches left.
"He's extraordinary. He has played his most important game of the season, he rescued us," Real director general Jorge Valdano said. "(But) it isn't right to talk about dependency on him. In the two months when he wasn't with us, the team were capable of making themselves leaders."
Real exited the King's Cup when he was absent, but fell at the last 16 stage of the Champions League when he was on the pitch, and coach Manuel Pellegrini is under pressure to deliver the league title.
Pellegrini's future remains a hot topic, and winning La Liga may not be enough to save him, but he has a perfect ally in Ronaldo.
"At present Real Madrid is the spirit of Ronaldo," said Pellegrini.
Ronaldo said: "It's my first year here and I want to be a champion.
"We are hopeful Barca will drop points against Sevilla and that we will win at home. I don't see us as champions yet but I am hopeful we'll achieve it in the end. I want to win a title."