October 7th will go down in history as the day when Cristiano Ronaldo hit his first-ever poker for Portugal. No penalty involved as his nation beat Andorra 6-0!
What do you do when you start a World Cup qualifier as the rock-bottom team in your group with no point and a (-2) goal difference? Well, when the opponents are minnows Andorra and when your captain is back in the starting line-up, you make sure to go all out on the attack!
Coach Fernando Santos and the home crowd needed that boost and Cristiano Ronaldo instantly granted their prayers. With only 1 minute and 14 seconds down the clock, the goal poacher broke the deadlock.
It came through a left-side corner. The visitors’ keeper got a touch on the ball but it fell onto CR7 who banged it home with his left foot. Replays revealed that his counterpart, skipper Ildefons Lima, first pulled him down. It could have been a penalty but Ronaldo chose to get back on his feet and go for the kill.
Two minutes later, the reigning UEFA Best Player of the Year was on the end of a perfect Quaresma cross. Top-notch header — his fifth for Portugal in 2016 only — to make it 2-0!
Ronaldo completed his perfect hat-trick in the 47th minute with a solid right-footed kick to make it 4-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Hat-trick Goal. Portugal 4-0 Andorra pic.twitter.com/3y06Ev8fG3
— RMadridBabe (@RMadridBabe) October 7, 2016
Still, he was hungry! Reminding just how much of a complete player he is, the Real Madrid star made excellent use of his left foot again to deceive Andorra’s sorry shot-stopper.
Cristiano Ronaldo just scored his first POKER of his international career with the Portugal. Congrats Cristiano ?? pic.twitter.com/2qpyONkKJN
— Mano (@Officialhbkmano) October 7, 2016
The match ended 6-0, pushing the European champions up in the UEFA World Cup qualifying’s Group B.
Records set by Ronaldo with his Portugal poker
- The fastest brace ever (in 190 seconds) in the history of the World Cup qualifiers
- His fourth hat-trick for his nation, more than any other player in Portugal’s history
- His 42nd career hat-trick: 37 for Real Madrid, 4 for Portugal and 1 for Manchester United
- Stretched his record to 47 goals against 22 different European nations
- Rocketed to the top of the UEFA World Cup qualifying goal chart ahead of Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku, Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic and Scotland’s Robert Snodgrass who each count three goals
- All-time topscorer in official competitive matches
– Cristiano (Portugal): 49 goals
– Miroslav Klose (Germany): 48 goals
– Robbie Keane (Ireland): 47 goals
– Ibrahimovic (Sweden): 44 goals
– David Villa (Spain): 40 goals
Happy to score my first poker for Portugal
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) October 7, 2016
“I know that I am an important player, like everyone else on the team,” Ronaldo expressed after recording his 65th goal in 134 appearances for his country.
“I always give my all for the Seleccao. I scored four goals. That’s fantastic!
“I am very happy to be back after picking up that injury in the UEFA Euro final.”
Cristiano Ronaldo looks to have much more fuel in his tank. Next stop: the Faroe Islands on Monday, October 10th.