Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is not interested in winding down his career just yet. After making a huge impact since his move back to Manchester United, he is now back to making waves with the Portugal national football team. He lit up the Estadio Algarve on Tuesday, as he scored a hat-trick in his team's 5-0 victory in their FIFA World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg.
Ronaldo hit the ground running with Portugal even after playing limited minutes with Manchester United on the club level. He gave Portugal the early lead after only eight minutes with a signature penalty kick. He managed to double that lead just after five minutes, giving Portugal the momentum early on.
By the 18th minute, Bruno Fernandes made his contribution to give Portugal a 3-0 lead going into the half-time break. Luxembourg did not find any answers and in the second half, and Joao Palhinha scored for Portugal again. Ronaldo then finished the match with a flourish by scoring another goal in the 87th minute to complete his hat-trick,
Ronaldo has now extended his international goal-scoring record to 115, and he is showing no signs of slowing down. Even at 36 years old, Ronaldo is still performing at the top level for his club and country.
Last week, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer received a lot of flack for starting Ronaldo from the bench when United faced Everton in the Premier League. They only managed a 1-1 draw, and many questioned the wisdom of not starting with such a strong player like Ronaldo. Just days before, he scored a 95th minute winner in the Champions League against Villarreal, proving that he still has what it takes to win the big matches.
Portugal head coach Fernando Santos is employing a different strategy, allowing Ronaldo to play to his full potential. Portugal is currently on top of Group A in the competition, with Serbia trailing just a point behind. Luxembourg are ten points behind in third place followed by Ireland and Azerbaijan.