Ronaldo nets hat trick as Spain earns draw
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo used the World Cup to show everyone he’s the GOAT.
Ronaldo rubbed his chin after scoring minutes into Portugal’s opener against Spain, implying he is the Greatest of All Time. Then he scored two more goals, including a perfectly placed 88th-minute free kick that gave his team a 3-3 draw Friday.
Spain, the 2010 World Cup champion, dominated much of the match but was unable to contain Ronaldo.
“When I play against a player like Ronaldo, these things can happen,” newly appointed Spain coach Fernando Hierro said. “It’s very fortunate for whatever team has Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Ronaldo had twice given European champion Portugal the lead with first-half goals at Fisht Stadium, but Diego Costa equalized with a goal in each half. Nacho Fernandez then put the Spanish ahead with a one-timer from outside the area in the Group B match.
Ronaldo became the fourth player to score in four World Cups, joining Pele, Miroslav Klose and Uwe Seeler.
He also became the first Portuguese player to appear in four World Cups, and at 33 became the oldest player to score a hat trick in tournament history.
He used his first goal to send a message to the world in an apparent reaction to Adidas’ “GOAT” promotion with Lionel Messi, featuring the Argentine with a real goat. Ronaldo and Messi have split the last 10 player of the year awards.
“I’ve said it so many times, Cristiano is the best in the world,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said.