Cristiano Ronaldo clearly felt he’d silenced his critics with a hat-trick in Juventus’ 3-1 win over Cagliari.
The Portuguese has been taking pelters from all angles after a relatively subdued performance in the Bianconeri’s Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Porto.
Despite the tie finishing 4-4 on aggregate, with the Portuguese side progressing on away goals, Ronaldo failed to score across the two legs.
With European glory eluding the Italian champions *yet again*, some have suggested that the whole point of signing Ronaldo from Real Madrid was to take that final step towards winning the most coveted prize in club football.
However, the forward was determined to bounce back this weekend. Before putting Cagliari to the sword, he posted on Instagram:
“More important than the number of falls you take in life, is how fast and how strong you get back on your feet… True champions never break!”
He had also delivered a message after scoring a perfect hat-trick all inside the first half – right foot, left foot, header – by pointing to his ear.
His 760th goal also saw him *officially* surpass Pele’s record, with the Brazilian responding on social media. Astonishingly, it was Ronaldo’s 57th career hat-trick, too.
Perhaps he was lucky to have still been on the pitch after a kick on the goalkeeper, but the 36-year-old certainly silenced his haters in style.
Despite his celebration, though, he was in no mood to respond officially, declining the offer of an interview.
At full-time, as he walked off the pitch, he was approached by a reporter but made a “chatting” gesture with his hands and then waved his finger to say ‘no’.
He reportedly told Sky Italia journalists “I’m not talking”.
Ronaldo definitely did his talking on the pitch instead.
However, as long as Juventus’ European drought continues – they haven’t won the Champions League since 1996 – their talisman is going to face criticism for not getting them over the line.
In many ways, that is an unfair expectation. Indeed, many have pointed to Andrea Pirlo’s inexperience in the Old Lady’s more difficult moments this season and his star forward can’t be expected to carry Juventus entirely.