Rio Ferdinand reveals what Cristiano Ronaldo thinks is the secret to his success

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Another big occasion in the Champions League saw another big hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese forward put Real Madrid in the driving seat within 10 minutes of Tuesday's semi-final clash against Atletico Madrid thanks to a close range header.

There were concerns he may have been offside when Sergio Ramos initially crossed the ball during the first phase of play but Ronaldo made Atletico pay for not clearing it properly by connecting with Casemiro's subsequent cross.

He added a second with a fierce volley after the ball had somewhat fortunately fell to him at the edge of the box while he finished off a quick counter-attack to seal the hat-trick.

Even before a ball was kicked, Diego Simeone's men would have known all about Ronaldo's ability - particularly in the air - but they couldn't prevent him scoring his 101st, 102nd and 103rd Champions League goal.

BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand had also tipped his old teammate to make an impact and he wasn't wrong.

Prior to kick off, Ferdinand praised last year's Ballon d'Or winner for proving the doubters wrong with his continued success.

"When he [Ronaldo] got to 30 [years old] people questioned if he could continue," he said, as per The Mirror.

"But he has carried on with the devastation that he is causing, and what is great about him is that he has the experience now.

"He knows what he needs at the top level in the big games to have that cutting edge and make the difference, and he does it with his eyes closed."

Rio even had the chance to have a brief catch up with Ronaldo in the build-up to the game and asked him for the secret to his success.

And Ronaldo's answer should be enough to inspire any young kids hoping to become a professional footballer.

Ferdinand added: "You can see this guy is relentless, I spoke to him during the week, [and asked] 'What is it that makes you, and got you where you are?'

"Hard work and determination is all he said, nothing else. And it's true, the basics have got him where he is and the talent separates him.

"You can't say enough about the likes of him in today's game. When he retires we will really understand what this guy has done for football - 41 hat-tricks!"

Of course, natural ability goes a long way to being successful but Ronaldo's work ethic has undoubtedly been a pivotal factor throughout his illustrious career.

Even now he is 32, the former Man United star continues to be the difference in the biggest matches.

Los Blancos will take a 3-0 lead - courtesy of Ronaldo's hat-trick - back to the Vicente Calderon for next week's second leg.

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