Cristiano Ronaldo hits 50th career hat-trick in Real Madrid win

By @saihoops on
Cristiano Ronaldo
Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Real Madrid vs Girona - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - March 18, 2018 Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their sixth goal REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Cristiano Ronaldo, widely regarded as the best striker of his generation, added another feather to his cap on Sunday evening (Monday AEDT). The Portuguese superstar struck four goals, the 50th hat-trick of his illustrious career, as Real Madrid defeated Girona 6-3 in a high-scoring La Liga match at Bernabeu.

Ronaldo, 33, has now scored 22 goals this season and a grand total of 566 goals in his club career. Ronaldo has scored a total of 645 goals, including 77 for Portugal. The striker hit just one hat-trick for Manchester United but now has 44 for Real Madrid and five for Portugal.

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane hailed the "incredible" Ronaldo, who has now scored 17 goals in his last eight appearances across competitions.

Zidane in awe of 'incredible' Cristiano Ronaldo

"Ronaldo is very important to us, he transmits an energy across the whole group. He knows himself very well and he knows when he has to stop a bit so that, when the end of the season arrives, he hits top form. He is tremendous. In training he is incredible.

"For example, if there is a penalty, he takes it with maximum concentration. And that is only training. It is incredible. But I also want to highlight his colleagues, who help him a lot. We scored some spectacular goals that came from the whole team," the former French soccer legend said, via Sky Sports

Zidane's team reclaimed third place in the La Liga standings from Valencia with the victory over Girona. They are now just four points shy of the second-placed Atletico Madrid.

"We have regained confidence and that has been evident in our home games. We have scored many goals in four or five games at the Bernabeu, which we didn't do at the start of the season. And then there is Cristiano. When Cristiano is fine, the team is fine. And then it's important that the team doesn't take its foot off the pedal. We have to improve things (defensively). I'm not happy with the three goals conceded and that has to be improved, we have to work on it," added Zidane.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid are trying to become the first team in history to win three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles. They will face Italian powerhouse Juventus in the first leg of the quarter-final on April 3. The second leg will be staged at Juventus Stadium on April 11.