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On This Day: Cristiano Ronaldo Scores Superb Hat-Trick Against Spain At 2018 World Cup

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On This Day: Cristiano Ronaldo Scores Superb Hat-Trick Against Spain At 2018 World Cup

On this day in 2018, Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo produced one of the all-time great World Cup performances in a memorable six-goal thriller against Spain.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner, who has scored more hat-tricks [57] than any other player in the 21st century, netted three times in Sochi as the 2016 European Championship winners earned a point in their opening Group B clash.

Ronaldo began the night by converting a penalty in the fourth minute after Nacho fouled him in the box.

Image credit: PA
Image credit: PA
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Spain equalised through a wonderful solo effort from Diego Costa but to the delight of manager Fernando Santos, that man Ronaldo soon made it 2-1 after a red-faced David de Gea fumbled his powerful effort from range.

Costa, who played for Atletico Madrid at the time, then equalised again to make it 2-2 before Nacho redeemed himself for conceding the first-half penalty by drilling a volley from the edge of the area.

Image credit: PA
Image credit: PA

It appeared Spain were set to get their campaign, one that started in disarray as coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the World Cup after agreeing to take charge of Real Madrid, off to a positive start for stand-in boss Fernando Hierro.

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But Portugal's superstar forward had other ideas. Not to be outdone by Nacho's sizzling strike, Ronaldo - as he often does on the big stage - stepped up to the plate with a trademark swerving free-kick in the 88th minute.

Portugal would go on to earn a point in the Iberian derby but it was Ronaldo's performance that grabbed the headlines.

"When there's someone like Ronaldo out there, these things can happen," Hierro, who did not expect to be on the touchline, reflected.

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In fact, the former Manchester United winger, who also became the first player to score in eight consecutive major tournaments that night, was later praised for his humble post-match interview.

"Above all we have to stress the efforts of the team," he said.

"We showed that we will always fight to the end. Spain dominated possession, they're one of the best sides in the world, but we believed until the end."

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Do you think this is one of Ronaldo's greatest ever performances?

Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football, Portugal, World Cup, Spain, Cristiano Ronaldo

Jack Kenmare
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