The debate as to just how healthy Cristiano Ronaldo is might cool off a little bit after Thursday night’s Euro 2020 qualifier.
But if Ronaldo wanted to make the case that he is 100 percent healthy, then he pretty much did it in about as Ronaldo of a way as possible while wearing a Portugal jersey. And it came just a handful of hours after he said this: “To open this news bulletin, we can give this news: the captain is well, very well. Not only am I fine, but I can say that I am very fit too. The balance sheet is definitely positive. Now you can interview others.” (via Football Italia)
Ronaldo might be looking a mini-slump at the club level in the face when he returns to Turin ahead of next weekend’s showdown with Atalanta, but he did in fact look “very fit” while scoring a brace within the first 22 minutes and capped off his hat trick with a goal midway through the second half in Portugal’s 6-0 win over Lithuania that ensured the defending European champions will have the chance to defend their title next summer.
Ronaldo was subbed off in the 83rd minute.
They were the 96th, 97th and 98th goals of his international career. With his ninth hat trick for Portugal, Ronaldo now has 10 goals in his last five games at the international level.
Hat-Trick, Hat-Trick— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) November 14, 2019
Lo cantamos desde el principio, CR7 marcó su tercero del partido
Portugal 6-0 Lituania #Euro2020 I #Portugal I #CR7
Partido en vivo: https://t.co/Y9Ndx70PpT pic.twitter.com/BfRfqthhL1
It’s the second goal that should be encouraging seeing as Ronaldo scoring from the penalty spot is nothing really new to any of us here. (Neither is him scoring goals at all, but you probably can understand what I’m saying here.) We’ve seen Ronaldo taking shots from that sort of distance while wearing a Juventus jersey in recent weeks and it’s either been a dribbler to the goalkeeper or blasted well wide of the goal all together.
So maybe Ronaldo is truly feeling better and this knee injury that Maurizio Sarri keeps talking about his star striker having has improved rather than lingered around and continued to impact his play.
Having secured qualification to Euro 2020, maybe Ronaldo will get a rest when Portugal faces Luxembourg on Sunday in the final group game of the qualification phase. Or maybe he will play and play another 80 or 90 minutes and then return to Turin with some wind in his sails again rather than being utterly and visibly frustrated like has been the case for pretty much the entire month of November before Thursday night.