There aren’t enough adjectives to describe Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Real Madrid star was simply sensational last night, scoring a hat-trick for Los Blancos in a 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid.
Commentators, bloggers and plenty of Barcelona fans have been guilty of suggesting Ronaldo is undergoing some sort of a demise, a notion that was strengthened when he started the season with four goals in nine games.
But two hat-tricks in his past four appearances have silenced the critics. Father time hasn’t beaten Ronaldo yet, ladies and gentleman. It’s not even close.
His trio of strikes in the Madrid derby won’t go down as the best hat-trick of Ronaldo’s career. After all, he scored from a deflected free-kick, a penalty and a tap in.
Not that he’s complaining, of course. And there’s more to celebrate than simply scoring the 39th hat-trick in his Madrid career and, in doing so, strengthening his case for the 2016 Ballon d’Or.
Ronaldo’s third goal, which came via a Gareth Bale cross, was his 18th in Madrid derby history, meaning he surpasses Alfredo Di Stefano’s previous record of 17 goals against Atleti.
Lionel Messi’s Ballon d’Or dreams are over
Zinedine Zidane believes Ronaldo put the debate as to who will win the Ballon d’Or to bed.
“I’ve never had any doubts that Cristiano is the best, and tonight ends that debate,” the Frenchman said, per AS.
Madrid widened the gap to Barcelona, who were held at home against Malaga on Saturday, to six points.
It required a special performance to beat Diego Simeone’s disciplined side – indeed, Atleti gave their rivals plenty of trouble early in the second half – but two Ronaldo goals late on ended the contest.
Zidane was asked whether this was Madrid’s best performance since he took over at the start of the year.
“I don’t know if it’s the best,” he replied. “But we put in a massive performance against a really tough team, at a ground where it’s difficult to come away with a win.”