Portugal privileged to have hat-tick hero Ronaldo, says Pepe

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The Real Madrid star's hat-trick against Spain came as no surprise to his international and former club team-mate

Portugal defender Pepe labelled it a "privilege" for the nation to have a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, saying the star's start to the World Cup came as no surprise.

Ronaldo stole the show early at the showpiece event in Russia, scoring a hat-trick to lead his side to a 3-3 draw against Spain Friday .

But that display, capped with a stunning 88th-minute free-kick for the equaliser, was unsurprising to Ronaldo's former Real Madrid team-mate Pepe.

"To me, it's nothing new," he said Tuesday.

"We had a fantastic match and it was very important the fact that he's so humble on the pitch and working to help the team.

"We are very happy with him and his performance and the performance of the other players. We work with a single goal – to honour our country and our shirt."

Ronaldo's hat-trick saw him move onto 84 international goals , level with Ferenc Puskas for the most by a European.

Pepe, whose team face Morocco Wednesday, said it was an honour to play alongside Ronaldo.

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"He's very happy to be with us and he's full of confidence every day, in every match," he said.

"It's a privilege for us, Portugal, to have a player like Cristiano Ronaldo."

Portugal and Spain sit level second place in Group B after the first matchday, with Iran atop the group after beating Morocco in their opener. 

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