Cristiano Ronaldo scored his second hat-trick in three games for Al-Nassr to reiterate his point after leaving Manchester United in acrimonious circumstances.
The 38-year-old megastar continued his excellent goalscoring form when Al-Nassr dispatched rivals Damac 3-0 away from home to go top of the Saudi Pro League. Ronaldo scored all three of his goals inside 26 first-half minutes, proving that he can still produce the goods – albeit at a weaker level in the much-frowned-up Saudi Arabian division – just as he insisted before departing Old Trafford in November.
Getting off the mark early with a goal from the penalty spot, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner then rifled in a left-footed scorcher from outside of the 18-yard box five minutes later. Just as half-time was dawning, Ronaldo – who also registered two assists in his last appearance – ran nearly the length of the pitch to latch onto a pass from team-mate Ayman Yahya and completed his hat-trick.
Now boasting eight goals in four games for Al-Nassr, the Portugal captain is backing up why he was so self-confident towards the back end of last year. In a bombshell interview with Piers Morgan, conducted before United agreed to mutually terminate his contract, Ronaldo affirmed: “I still believe I can score many, many goals and I can help the team, because I still believe I’m good enough to help the national team and even Manchester United.”
While United certainly aren’t missing him, enjoying a superb run of form since his departure, their former No.7 is doing all that he can to prove he can still bang in the goals. During his interview with Morgan, Ronaldo claimed that he lost motivation over the first half of the season at United, not feeling loved by new boss Erik ten Hag.
“Maybe I’m not motivated as I’m supposed to be. I’m a human being, I feel things. My motivation is not the same as a few months ago,” the Portuguese striker – who’s now scored or assisted Al-Nassr’s last 10 goals – explained to TalkTV. “I was happy [at Manchester United], I was motivated to do a happy season here.
Have your say! Will Ronaldo ever return to European club football? Give us your prediction in the comments section.
“I’m still playing at the highest level, scoring goals and I’m going to keep scoring if my mind is clear and happy. If you don’t feel around you that the energy is on your side, it’s difficult.”
It isn’t just goals which Ronaldo is proving Al-Nassr either, as club nutritionist Jose Blesa has revealed how helpful he’s been behind the scenes. “I was uncertain, like everyone else, about what it was going to be like to work with him and if the club was going to change a lot, but I haven’t found a more professional footballer than him,” Blesa told Ideal.
“Every conversation with him is a learning curve. We met and talked about his diet, about how he understands the importance of this and rest for performance. He wears two rest metres: the ring and the bracelet. He is the first to arrive at training and the last to leave. Dealing with him is wonderful.”