Football

Five-star Ronaldo books Portugal's Brazil berth

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Cristiano Ronaldo single-handedly booked Portugal's spot in the upcoming World Cup by firing a superb hat-trick to counter act Sweden's star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic's double on a night of high drama in Sweden. 

After Portugal's number seven had put the away side ahead, Ibrahimovic showed just why he classes himself in the same bracket as Ronaldo by scoring twice in quick succession, one a glancing header and the other a smashed free-kick, before Real Madrid's £80million man sprinted away from the home defence - twice - to score emphatically and cap a fine-individual performance that booked his country's place at Brazil 2014. 

After the game, he said: "I know Portugal needed me and I showed I am there."

He certainly was. The Portuguese also got on the score sheet on Friday night when they narrowly secured a 1-0 win in the home leg, meaning the six goals over the two legs were scored by just two players. 

Sadly, it means there will be no Ibrahimovic at next year's spectacle - meaning the 32-year-old is more than likely to end his international career without ever scoring at a World Cup finals. 

However, he was gracious in defeat and full of admiration for Ronaldo: "He gets three chances on counter-attacks, and he scores three goals.

"It's what he's best at."

The Paris Saint-Germain star showed his counterpart the ultimate respect by applauding his third goal, despite it all-but ending his countries hopes of qualification. 

In what was billed as Zlatan versus Cristiano, it certainly lived up to expectations and once again was more evidence to suggest the man who's scored more goals in this calendar year than every Premier League club has managed should be a shoe-in to collect the prestigious Ballon d'Or against his La Liga rival Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo, who has scored five trebles in just over a month, was also full of praise for Ibrahimovic after the game: "Zlatan is a fantastic player, and when you feel great support from your team, it's great."

But he was second best on this occasion to the former Manchester United man, and his team mate, Moutinho, who set up two of his goals on the night, summed it up after the final whistle when asked about Ronaldo: "What is there to say? He's the best in the world." 

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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