Gareth Bale scored an 11-minute hat-trick to see-off Kashima Antlers 3-1 and put Real Madrid into Saturday’s World Club Cup final.
The man for all finals has now scored six goals in the World Club Cup – only Cristiano Ronaldo with seven has scored more in the tournament’s history.
Real Madrid play Al Ain FC and if Bale picks up a winners’ medal it will be his 12th in five years at the club – his third World Club Cup to go with four Champions Leagues.
Kashima, who finished third in this season’s J-League, started well with Serginho shooting and Thibaut Courtois pushing the ball out for an early corner that Yashushi Endo then curled the ball dangerously into the six-yard box with no red shirt getting on the end of it.
Bale then ran on to a brilliant pass from Marcelo but was dispossessed as he shaped to shoot.
Shoma Doi was put through on 26 minutes but Courtois came out and spread himself to block the forward’s shot.
Karim Benzema then had a tame shot saved by Kwoun Suntae.
Bale miskicked trying to finish with his right on the edge of the penalty area. And Kashima keeper then blocked Toni Kroos’s shot.
Bale crossed for Benzema but he headed wide from outside the area.
Madrid had regained control of the game after the early energy from Kashima but still appeared to heading for the break on level terms.
Then Marcelo and Bale showed their class with a clever one-two inside the penalty area that Bale, running in off the left wing sent past Suntae with his left foot.
Bale was sent running clear down the left at the restart and when he crossed from the byline the ball ran to Benzema whose shot was cleared off the line by Shuto Yamamoto.
On 53 minutes Bale made it 2-0 and this time the goal was gift-wrapped and presented to him by Kashima. He intercepted a sloppy back pass and scored from a tight angle into an empty net.
It was three, two minutes later when Marcelo again played Bale in down the left and he completed his hat-trick thrashing a shot past Suntae. He went off on the hour job done.
Doi closed narrowed the scoreline with 12 minutes left but there was no way back for Kashima.