Twitter melts down as Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick fires Portugal to first-ever Nations League final
Portugal have secured a spot in the first-ever Nations League finals after Cristiano Ronaldo netted a spectacular hat-trick against Switzerland at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday.
The Juventus star converted a superb free-kick to give the hosts a lead in the first half of the game. Switzerland responded with an equaliser from Ricardo Rodriguez courtesy of a penalty awarded by the video assistant referee after the break.
The game appeared to be heading to extra time as both sides struggled to find the back of the net. However, the ever-motivated Ronaldo fired two goals for Portugal to complete his hat-trick within two minutes. The hat-trick marks the Portuguese talisman's 53rd career hat-trick and takes his international goal tally to 88.
The former Real Madrid forward's performances have earned praises from all quarters, with Portugal head coach Fernando Santos branding the 34-year-old as a "football genius" after the game.
Santos told UEFA,
"In terms of adjectives to describe Ronaldo's game – I've used many. I was his coach in 2003 and I could see where he'd go."
"He's a genius. There's genius paintings and sculptures and he's a football genius."
"When someone scores three goals, they are the difference maker. It was a tough game, it was well played – two sides who are very strong, playing to win."
"They're strategically well organised, changing their formation. Their players know what they have to do on the pitch, limiting some of the gaps we'd thought about."
Portugal now await to see who will emerge as their opponents as England are set to go head-to-head with the Netherlands for a final spot in the competition later today.
Football fans have since taken to Twitter to address Ronaldo's man-of-the-match performance and his gigantic influence in the Portugal national team.