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'I work for this': Ronaldo toasts new career mark after World Cup hat-trick

The Portugal captain spoke of his delight after helping his side to a vital point.

Image: Getty Images

PORTUGAL’S HERO CRISTIANO Ronaldo saluted his hat-trick as a “personal best” and insisted that his team deserved a point against Spain after holding La Roja to a thrilling 3-3 draw on Friday.

Despite an outstanding individual performance from the Real Madrid striker, Portugal were on the back foot for much of the World Cup clash as they managed just three shots on goal.

Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot and then hit again when David de Gea spilled a speculative long-range effort in the first half.

Two goals from Diego Costa after each Ronaldo effort kept Spain in touch before a cracking strike from Nacho handed Fernando Hierro’s men the lead.

But Cristiano was on target again late on to rescue the equaliser with a brilliant free-kick – and he believes it is no less than his team deserves.

“I always believed in myself, I work for this,”  he fired to RTP after the final whistle.

“I want to highlight the team’s response, we played until the end, we did not shy away from the fight. The draw was fair.”

He later told reporters of his hat-trick: ”I’m very happy. It’s a personal best. It’s a great moment. One more in my career.

“But what’s more important is how the team played. We were playing a great team. In my opinion, it was a fair result. Obviously we are very happy because the game was about to end and we managed to equalise. It was a hard-fought game.

“We are not the favourites but we are candidates. We will do our best. Now we will try to win on Wednesday against Morocco so we can move on to the next stage. I think the team is doing very well.”

Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, who was withdrawn for Ricardo Quaresma as Portugal chased a leveller, singled out his captain as the game-changer.

“We had a great Cristiano. You have to give him credit because when he is at top form anything is possible. He is the best player in the world,” the midfielder stated.

“Portugal played a great first half, so much so that we went into half-time ahead. Then we realised it would not be an easy game and we came into the second half with a lot of problems.

“In the end it was a fair result for both teams.”

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Watch: Ronaldo completes 51st career hat-trick with stunning free-kick

Nacho gives Spain the lead with technically-esquisite rasper that finds its way past both posts

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