Cristiano Ronaldo closes in on Saudi record after scoring perfect hat-trick for Al Nassr

Portuguese star just three goals short of most goals in a single season after taking his tally to 32

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored a perfect hat-trick on Saturday evening to continue his prolific season as Al Nassr thrashed Al Wehda 6-0 in the Saudi Pro League.

Already clear in the SPL's top scorer standings, Ronaldo took his tally to 32 goals in 31 games – and 41 in 40 matches in all competitions – with his 66th career hat-trick.

Ronaldo opened the scoring at Al Awwal Stadium in the fifth minute when Wehda goalkeeper Munir Mohamedi's poor clearance found the Nassr captain on the edge of the area. The Portuguese forward brought the ball into the box and curled a right-footed effort into the bottom corner.

Ronaldo doubled Nassr's lead seven minutes later when he rose to head home Marcelo Brozovic's pinpoint cross.

Otavio made it 3-0 in the 18th minute. After timing his run through the Wehda defence and getting on the end of Sadio Mane's lofted through pass, the Portuguese midfielder lifted the ball over the onrushing Mohamedi.

Otavio and Mane then switched roles as provider turned scorer moments before half-time. Mane exchanged a quick one-two with Otavio before holding off two Wehda defenders and taking an early shot from the edge of the area that wrong-footed Mohamedi.

Shortly after the break, Ronaldo had his perfect hat-trick. Mane was once again the creator as the former Liverpool forward slid a pass through for Ronaldo, who timed his run to perfection and slotted home a left-footed shot.

Mohamed Al-Fatil then completed the rout in the 88th minute after Meshari Al-Nemer's initial shot was blocked into his path by Wehda goalkeeper Mohamedi.

A seventh league victory in a row further cements Nassr's place as likely runners-up in the SPL. The Riyadh side are 19 points clear of Al Ahli in third, although they will need a monumental slip-up from leaders Al Hilal to win their first league title since 2019.

Hilal, who set a new world record this season for most games won in a row, are nine points clear with five matches remaining and play their game in hand against Al Ahli on Monday night.

“We achieved an important victory ... and what was required was for us to give our best and achieve three points to make the fans happy,” Nassr manager Luis Castro said.

“I have beautiful words for the fans. They are the ones who gave us the spirit of victory and they are our fuel to achieve the best.”

While league and Asian Champions League glory has proved beyond Ronaldo and Nassr this season, they can still end the season with major silverware; Nassr face rivals Hilal in the King's Cup final.

“We started the season by winning the Arab Club Cup and we want to end the season by winning the King’s Cup,” Ronaldo said.

Ronaldo also has in his sights the SPL's single-season goalscoring record. The current record is held by Abderrazak Hamdallah, who scored 34 league goals in the 2018/19 season, so Ronaldo needs three more goals in his last four games to set a new mark.

“I will try to reach goal 900 this season or next season, it does not matter,” added Ronaldo, who took his career goals tally to 884 for club and country.

Updated: May 05, 2024, 5:20 AM