Cristiano Ronaldo put on an absolute masterclass during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
There wasn’t to be the international success that he brought to Portugal at Euro 2016, but it was arguably his finest run of performances on football’s biggest stage of all.
And although we could highlight his bullet header against Morocco or indefatigable efforts in the loss to Uruguay, let’s be honest and say that his display versus Spain was the best of the lot.
Not only did his antics against Portugal’s Iberian rivals mean that he scored in a fourth consecutive World Cup, but he bagged himself the competition’s first hat-trick for good measure.
CR7 won a penalty for the reigning European champions early on, duly converting past David de Gea, before doubling his advantage after the Spain ‘keeper spilled his left-footed strike into the net.
Portugal 3-3 Spain
But as Portugal entered the dying moments trailing 3-2, Ronaldo produced his most impressive moment of the match and arguably his finest goal on the international stage.
Despite never having scored a World Cup free-kick from over 40 attempts up until that point, Ronaldo executed a perfect knuckleball over the wall and into the net for a dramatic equaliser.
You simply couldn’t write it. The goal and treble was the perfect reminder of Ronaldo’s prowess on the biggest stage of all and a performance that will be talked about for decades to come.
Ronaldo’s highlights in Sochi
However, if there is a downside to the fact Ronaldo scored three times that night in Sochi, it’s the fact many fans have forgotten what the then 33-year-old did between those goals.
It was, by all accounts, a brilliant performance from Ronaldo across the board, strutting his stuff with step-overs and his eponymous ‘chop’ in a way you’d expect from his Manchester United days.
But fear not because YouTuber ‘Alside Football’ has ensured that the full extent of Ronaldo’s majesty in the 3-3 draw has been preserved forever, compiling CR7’s full individual highlights.
You can check out the eight-minute montage of his brilliance down below:
The man for the big occasion.
The Juventus star seemed to travel across the pitch like a locomotive despite facing modern greats such as Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta.
There was a certain deftness with which he controlled the ball and that unerring posture when he dribbles that forewarns a defender that they’ll gain everything but possession from him.
It goes to show that there was more to Ronaldo’s brilliance that night than his goalscoring, which the critics like to point out was part-comprised by a penalty and then a De Gea mistake.
It’s fair to say Ronaldo’s highlights are the ultimate rebuttal to anybody dismissing him and that game on those grounds. The World Cup saw a world-class Ronaldo – and then some.
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