Cristiano Ronaldo’s fitness was never a doubt for Portugal coach Fernando Santos as the star forward scored a hat-trick in Thursday’s 6-0 victory over Lithuania.
Ronaldo was far from a certain starter for the Euro 2020 qualifier at Estadio Algarve after being substituted in Juventus’ last two matches.
Juve boss Maurizio Sarri attributed the early withdrawal against Milan last weekend to a bruised knee, but the 34-year-old played 83 minutes against Lithuania and showed no signs of fatigue.
Asked how Ronaldo was feeling when substituted late on, Santos told RTP : “He’s fine. I had no doubt about that, as I said before the match. Other people did, but I didn’t have any doubts.”
Ronaldo opened the scoring early on from a penalty he won and curled in a second prior to half-time, before completing his hat-trick 25 minutes from the end.
Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes was full of praise for his team-mate, who is now up to 98 goals for the reigning European champions.
“What we have is a very motivated Cristiano, who always gives his best,” Fernandes said. “He scored three times, which is normal for him.”
Pizzi, Goncalo Paciencia and Bernardo Silva were also on target for Portugal, who can seal second place in Group B if they beat Luxembourg in their final qualifier on Sunday.