Did Cristiano Ronaldo score a hat-trick for Portugal vs Liechtenstein? Replays suggests he got last touch in Joao Cancelo's opener
Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a brace as Portugal managed to earn a 4-0 win against Liechtenstein in their opening qualification game for Euro 2024. However, the Portugal captain might have arguably scored a hat-trick.
Joao Cancelo opened the scoring in the eighth minute for Roberto Martinez's team. The ball took a deflection from a defender to end up in the back of the net. However, replays suggest that Ronaldo, who was clearly in an onside position, got the final touch before the shot went in.
Bernardo Silva doubled A Seleção's lead in the second half shortly before Cancelo was brought down inside the area. Ronaldo stepped up and converted his spot kick to score his 119th international goal.
Goal number 120 for Portugal and a 100th competitive goal in international football followed soon as the Al-Nassr superstar blasted the ball home from a free-kick just outside the penalty area.
Cristiano Ronaldo was replaced late in the game by 2022 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 hat-trick hero Goncalo Ramos. Given that the 2016 European champions have a match against Luxembourg on March 26, Martinez might have wanted to give the 38-year-old's legs some rest.
Cristiano Ronaldo remains an integral part of Portugal under Roberto Martinez
Cristiano Ronaldo, 38, is still a world-beater. Roberto Martinez seemingly relies on the five-time Ballon d'Or winner as well. His first game in charge, at least, showed signs of that.
Ronaldo still has a knack for goals and his performance against Liechtenstein was proof of that.
He is also one of the three captains of the group. Speaking ahead of the clash against Liechtenstein, Martinez said (via GOAL):
“At the moment, the players with more experience and international caps are the captains: Ronaldo, Rui Patricio and Bernardo Silva. They will be the team captains.”
With Euro 2024 approaching, Martinez will have to chalk out a plan to use Ronaldo to the best of Portugal's interest. Given the attacking pool that the team possesses, Ronaldo's immense presence can only enhance their pedigree.