Madrid: World Player of the Year Ronaldo says he is back to his best after notching a brilliant hattrick in Real Madrid’s crushing 5-1 victory over Alaves at the weekend.
The Brazilian striker used a combination of his devastating pace and dazzling close control to score his classy treble and help his side displace Real Sociedad at the top of the Spanish first division.
Ronaldo’s last hattrick was for Inter Milan in a 5-0 win against Lecce in December 1998.
“I think I am now as quick as I ever was,” Ronaldo told local television station Telemadrid on Sunday night. “It may be that I don’t participate as much in the rest of play, but I think I am still as effective as I was before my injury problems.”
Ronaldo, whose career had been threatened by a series of serious knee injuries, said that experience had taught him to take more care of his body.
“The injuries have changed me a lot,” he said. “The problems started because I didn’t look after myself well enough. I didn’t warm up correctly, I turned up, trained and then went home. Now I get to training 40 minutes early and do everything properly.”
The 26-year-old, whose weekend hattrick brought his total to 13 league goals this season, said that he was still hoping to live up to his pledge to score 25 for his new club.
“I am still aiming to fulfil my promise and although I know it won’t be easy I think I can do it. I’m very glad we have gone top,” he said. “We have waited the whole season for this, but now we have to make sure we stay there.”