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Cristiano Ronaldo – Al-Nassr Alsaudia

  • Ronaldo scored the 65th treble of his career in the 8-0 win at Abha on Tuesday after a hat-trick on Saturday
  • Roshn Saudi League’s top goalscorer this season now has 29 league goals from 24 games

RIYADH: Cristiano Ronaldo has expressed his delight at scoring his second Roshn Saudi League hat-trick in three days, as Al-Nassr manager Luis Castro hailed the “perfectionist” Portuguese forward.

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Ronaldo, who netted a hat-trick in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Al-Tai, struck from two free-kicks in the space of 10 minutes to give Al-Nassr an early two-goal lead in their 8-0 victory at Abha on Tuesday.

The superstar No. 7 followed that by up completing another treble with the most impudent of chips and directly assisted Sadio Mane then Abdulmajeed Al-Sulaiheem to send Al-Nassr in 5-0 ahead at halftime.

Ronaldo — who was substituted at halftime and rested for the second half — has now netted 65 senior hat-tricks in his illustrious playing career. He is the Roshn Saudi League’s top goalscorer this season with 29 goals in 24 games. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has also struck a total of 36 goals in 35 games for Al-Nassr in all competitions this season.

Asked after the match how he felt about his hat-trick achievement, Ronaldo simply replied: “Great, thank you.”

Accompanied by three football emojis to signify his hat-trick, he also added on social media: “We are not slowing down.”

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Al-Nassr manager Castro said: “Ronaldo is a perfectionist. Ronaldo is a top player and takes professionalism to a different level.

“He is 39 years old, and I am sure fans and everyone else knows just how dedicated he is. When he practices free-kicks, finishing or even when recovering, he always puts the maximum effort in. No matter what he does, it is always to his full capacity.

“He is a role model to every player. He is always consistent whether the team is going through difficult times or good times. He shows character regardless of the circumstances. It’s amazing. However, I don’t want to forget the other players — Ronaldo is part of the team and what he does is somehow a reflection of the collective effort of the whole group.”

Al-Nassr remain second in the Roshn Saudi League table, 12 points behind leaders Al-Hilal. Al-Nassr’s second-half strikes in the 8-0 win were scored by Abdulrahman Ghareeb and a double by 20-year-old substitute Abdulaziz Al-Aliwa, who netted his first goals for the club.

Abha are 17th in the 18-team table but only two points off from moving outside the relegation zone.

Abha manager Pitso Mosimane said: “What can you say after a defeat like this? We don’t have excuses. We must take it as part of learning lessons for the team and myself. There were a lot mistakes — I think five goals, we made mistakes. We gave them goals many times, but we have to move on and focus on the response. The process is to stay in the league, and I don’t think we were budgeting for taking points off Al-Nassr — but the score is not what we want. We have to go through lessons to learn. The only way to come out of this is to win the next match. The players must accept this, and I also must accept this.”

Al-Nassr are at Damac in the Roshn Saudi League on Friday, while Abha’s next game sees them host Al-Fateh on Sunday.

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