Football

Cristiano Ronaldo.

WATCH: Ronaldo's hat-trick V Sweden in 2013 was even better than Messi's v Ecuador

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You'd think Lionel Messi wouldn't be able to shock the world anymore, but his heroics on Tuesday night prove that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner took his legend to new heights.

Argentina were on the brink of failing to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year when they travelled to Ecuador for their final group game in South American qualifying.

To make matters worse, they would find themselves 1-0 down inside 40 seconds. But, Barcelona superstar Messi took matters into his own hands and scored a hat-trick to not only guide Argentina to a 3-1 win, but to book their place in Russia next summer.

Messi's hat-trick was truly something special and each goal was top-class on its own merits.

While the 30-year-old has been rightly lauded for his inspirational display with fresh calls of the 'greatest of all-time', it's worth remembering longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo did something similar back in 2013.

Portugal found themselves in a playoff against a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-led Sweden for a place at the finals in Brazil the following summer.

After winning the first leg 1-0 - where, of course, Ronaldo scored the winner - Portugal made the trip to Stockholm the favourites to progress.

However, the tie was all square after 72 minutes thanks to a Zlatan brace and despite having opened the scoring on the night, the Real Madrid superstar had some work to do.

Ronaldo would complete a very impressive hat-trick when it mattered most to book Portugal's place in Brazil. Just two short years later, they would win the European Championships.

Legacy

Ronaldo and Messi will always draw comparisons and, unfortunately for them, that's just how it will always be.

Although it's pretty funny that Messi would also score a hat-trick to send his country through to a World Cup just like Ronaldo four years before him, it probably won't help his cause to win his sixth Ballon d'Or award this year.

Ronaldo looks primed to secure his fifth Ballon d'Or after winning the European Championships with Portugal, La Liga and the Champions League with Real Madrid and bagging 55 goals along the way.

Hard to make an argument against that, but which World Cup salvaging hat-trick was better?

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Topics:
Football
Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo
La Liga

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