Portugal boss Fernando Santos hails "incredible" Cristiano Ronaldo

With Portugal leading their close rivals 1-0 after Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot, Atletico Madrid's Costa demonstrated the wiliness for which he is famed, and no shortage of footballing brilliance, in grabbing an equaliser for Fernando Hierro's side.

Cristiano Ronaldo labelled his stunning World Cup hat-trick as the best of his career after Portugal's thrilling draw with neighbours Spain.

One of the best World Cup 2018 first round matches kicks off Friday as Portugal takes on Spain.

"The World Cup has only just begun".

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The goal allowed Ronaldo to join Ferenc Puskas as Europe's top global scorer with 84 goals, matching a record that was set more than six decades ago. Have your say in the comments section below.

Cristiano Ronaldo believes Mohamed Salah is a serious contender to break his and Lionel Messi's dominance of the Ballon d'Or. "I don't want to be the best player in the world, I want to win the World Cup".

Ronaldo now earns an estimated $93 million a year, according to Forbes, with approximately half coming from image rights deals with his many sponsors.

And Valdano, who played for Madrid and coached the team during the 1990s, feels Neymar could be the ideal replacement for 33-year-old Ronaldo.

"More important than his physical form is his mental form, he has incredible mental endurance", Santos said. "He has played at the highest level for a long time now".

Ronaldo has had the case hanging over him since he appeared in court last July near Madrid to answer four counts of tax evasion.

The Real Madrid forward was superb in Portugal's 3-3 World Cup draw with Spain yesterday, giving his team the ideal start with a penalty, putting them 2-1 ahead and popping up at the death, cool as you like, to whip home a free kick and complete a magnificent hat-trick.

And a report from Spanish outlet Marca claims that Real Madrid would demand that Neymar is included in any deal that could see Ronaldo leave the club this summer.

  • Rosalie Stanley