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World Player of the Week
Cristiano Ronaldo
 
AGE 28
POSITION Striker
PLAYS FOR Portugal
WEEK IN NUMBERS
APPS (GOALS SCORED) 1 (3)
TIME ON PITCH 90
PREVIOUS WINS 3

Northern Ireland
2-4 Portugal

Diego Maradona once said of Cristiano Ronaldo, "As good as he is with Real Madrid, he often seems frustrated on the national level, as if he was surrounded by players who do little to assist him."

The Argentine legend was not the first to question the quality of the Portuguese forward's performances for the Seleccao - and probably won't be the last. However, Friday night's heroics against Northern Ireland might at least see Ronaldo afforded a brief respite from the criticism.

The Real Madrid ace struck three times during the game in Belfast, turning a 2-1 deficit into a vital 4-2 win that kept Portugal right in contention for automatic qualification for next year's World Cup.

The treble also saw Ronaldo take his tally of international goals to 43, moving him ahead of the legendary Eusebio and into second place in Portugal's all-time record goalscoring standings, just four behind Pauleta.

The truly remarkable thing about Ronaldo's performance was that he had been a doubt for game with tendinitis, which merely underlined that nobody should doubt the 28-year-old's brilliance, or indeed his commitment to the cause ever again.

"Let's face it, Portugal are not as good as Real Madrid, so the service Ronaldo receives at international level is less reliable," reasons Goal's Tony Mahoney. "That therefore makes the achievement of becoming his nation's top all-time scorer all the more creditable.

"An away hat-trick consisting of two headers and a free-kick was a stylish way to surpass Eusebio and keep Portugal on course to for the finals in Brazil."

Congratulations to Cristiano Ronaldo, Goal's 226th World Player of the Week winner!

The Shortlist

J. Gudmundsson - Iceland

@MatthewStanger: "One of the finest hat-tricks I've ever seen."

Goal's Joe Wright: "Accounted for Iceland's first treble in 13 years with a stunning strike that earned Iceland a 4-4 draw with Switzerland."

Miroslav Klose - Germany

 @DavidAmoyal: "Miroslav Klose is one of the most underrated players of past 10 years."

Goal's Enis Koylu: "Netted the opener in a 3-0 win over Austria to equal Gerd Muller's record haul of 68 goals for Germany."

Luis Suarez - Uruguay

@Infostradelive: "Raised his goalscoring tally in WC qualifiers to 10 and is one behind worldwide leader - Belize's Deon McCaulay."

Goal's Sammy Lee: "Scored both goals for Uruguay in 2-1 victory over Peru that keeps their hopes of automatic qualification alive."

Anders Svensson - Sweden

@Kevin_Davies: "Seen my old team-mate Anders Svensson doing some damage at The Aviva at the ripe old age of 37!!"

Goal's Mark Doyle: "Scored the winner in a vital 2-1 win over Ireland on what his record-equalling 144th appearance for Sweden."

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