Higuain buoyed by brilliant treble

Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain spoke of his delight after his hat-trick in Saturday’s 6-3 Primera Division win at Valencia.

Higuain ended a five-month injury-enforced wait to get back on the scoresheet with a hat-trick in his side’s mauling of Los Che at the Mestalla.

His last goal for Madrid came against Athletic Bilbao in November before he succumbed to a back injury that ultimately required surgery and kept him sidelined until earlier this month.

The Argentina international had made three appearances for Madrid since returning from his lay-off, but it was not until Saturday night’s clash at the Mestalla that he found himself back among the goals in the emphatic win over third-placed Valencia.

Higuain, who was Madrid’s leading league scorer in the last two seasons and had netted seven times in 12 matches prior to his injury, said in AS: "I’m very happy and I’m going to enjoy this. After all the suffering and so much time without playing I’m pleased.

"It’s been a long time since I scored. When you get back to scoring goals, and more so in a game like that, it makes you happy. Now to continue like that and not let things slip.

"This gives me confidence and I can help the team. It was important to score, although not paramount. I have to continue playing to get back to my best."

Madrid’s victory over Valencia was their second success at the Mestalla in a matter of days having beaten Barcelona at the ground last Wednesday to win the Copa del Rey.

The win also kept alive their slim hopes of catching Barca at the top of the Primera Division, although the Catalan club remain eight points clear with only five games to go following their win over Osasuna.

Nevertheless, Madrid coach Jose Mourinho will be delighted with the shape his side are in heading into the final weeks of the season, which will also see them face Barca in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The return to fitness and form of Higuain also gives the Portuguese an enviable array of attacking talent at his disposal, with Karim Benzema, Emmanuel Adebayor and Cristiano Ronaldo also options for the centre-forward position.

Higuain added: "The competition is good. We have a big squad and therefore you can rest some players and give others playing time."