Mourinho lauds 'special' Ronaldo after hat-trick against Spain
Cristiano Ronaldo (Getty Images)
Cape Town - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes that Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo is a 'special player' after bagging a hat-trick against Spain in a 2018 Soccer World Cup Group B clash.
As it happened: Portugal 3-3 Spain
The 33-year-old scored a late free-kick to complete his hat-trick as Portugal secured an all important point as the match ended 3-3 at Fisht Olympic Stadium.
Ronaldo opened the scoring with a penalty before Diego Costa equalised minutes later with a pinpoint finish after brushing aside three defenders.
Portugal then took the lead seconds before the half-time whistle blew with David De Gea making a crucial error which saw Ronaldo's low powerful strike cross the goal-line.
Spain were not resting their laurels as Costa levelled matters early in the second-half before Nacho gave the 2010 world champions the lead with a thundering strike.
With stoppage time closing in, Ronaldo took matters into his own hands when Portugal received a free-kick just outside the box.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner made no mistake as his mercurial right-footed strike dipped into the top right corner.
"He knew. He knew and that's what I really admire in some players and he is a great example," said Mourinho in his role as a pundit for Russia Today.
"There are players for some matches, there are players for every matches and there are players for special matches. And the players for special matches are the ones.
"His (free-kick) record lately is not the best, I think for every free-kick he takes in the national team, he is not scoring as much as he did for Manchester United and for the first years in Real Madrid.
"But this one is the critical one, this one is a crucial point, it can affect the self-esteem, the self-confidence, the way to appear in the next two matches, the rivalry, what it means for Portuguese people who is at home. And he has this little touch, this little feeling and the goal is fantastic."
Portugal's next Group B fixture is against Morroco while Spain clash against Iran on Wednesday, June 20.