Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 38th hat-trick of his Real Madrid career against Alaves on Saturday afternoon.
The 31-year-old, who was in the midst of his worst ever start to a La Liga season prior to last weekend’s match at the Estadio de Mendizorroza, netted two goals in the first half - including a peach from outside the penalty area - and another before full-time.
However, the Portugal international decided not to take the match ball home after bagging yet another treble, as is routine for players who score a hat-trick; instead, he was filmed handing it to one of his teammates.
But which teammate did Ronaldo give the hat-trick ball to?
Was it Alvaro Morata, scorer of Madrid’s third goal in the 84th minute? Gareth Bale, in recognition of the Wales international’s new contract extension? Karim Benzema for his ‘assist’ for Ronaldo’s screamer? The answer is none of them.
Video: Ronaldo gives match-ball to Marcelo
Instead, Ronaldo gave the ball to the team’s dynamic Brazilian full-back Marcelo, who set up the last two goals of the match in the 84th and 88th minutes of the match.
New footage obtained by El Dia Despues shows Ronaldo flick the ball up to himself before throwing it like a basketball to his world-class teammate.
Scroll to 2.38 in the video...
It was a classy gesture from Cristiano who, to be fair, must already possess several trophy cabinets filled with match-balls after scoring hat-tricks.
Zidane praises Ronaldo after 38th hat-trick
"It's great that Cristiano Ronaldo scored, and that he did so three times is even better,” Ronaldo’s boss, Zinedine Zidane, was quoted as saying by Sky Sports after the match. “We are happy with his performance.
"We are always going to ask that he scores goals but he was good in every aspect. Let's hope it stays that way. He has a lot of patience and showed today that with hard work anything is possible."
Madrid keep marching on
Los Blancos stay top of La Liga following their convincing 4-1 victory, two points above Barcelona and three ahead of Atletico.
Zidane’s men will be expected to maintain their advantage at the top of the table when they go head-to-head with Leganes on Sunday.
Is this proof that Cristiano Ronaldo is an underrated classy guy and a bit misunderstood? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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