Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo dismisses doubters after hat trick
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo was dismissive towards his critics after scoring his latest hat trick during the 4-0 Champions League win at home to Shakhtar Donetsk.
Only last weekend pundits in Spain and elsewhere were questioning Ronaldo's form after he started the season without a goal in four games for club or country.
However, on Saturday he netted five in Los Blancos' 6-0 La Liga win at Espanyol and that was followed by three more -- two penalties and a close-range header -- as Shakhtar were dismissed at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.
The Portugal international does not usually speak to Spain's local media after games due to frustration at the coverage he gets, but he broke that silence in the Bernabeu mixed zone to say he was happy that his teammates trusted in his ability, even if those outside the club did not.
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"Before I was bad and now I am good because I have scored eight goals in two games," Ronaldo said. "My teammates trust in me, they give me more passes, and from these passes I score goals.
"We are in good form, the work of the team must be highlighted. We were strong in defence and the team did good work. Shakhtar played very well, they are a team who are good in possession, but today was Real Madrid's day and we played well."
Ronaldo's 33rd hat trick for Madrid means he is now the all-time leading scorer in all European competitions with 83 as well as the Champions League with 80 -- a record which, for the moment at least, moved him past Lionel Messi of Barcelona.
He told BT Sport that he was "proud and happy" of such personal records, although the main thing was to play well all season and help Madrid to win the biggest competitions.
"I knew that this would come naturally, without pressure, to dedicate myself and work hard like I always do," Ronaldo said. "And it's good, of course, I'm not going to lie. I feel so proud and happy for this moment to score eight goals in two games.
"But this is not my goal. My goal is to be good all season, the team to win, which for me is the most important. And to win collective trophies, which is the Champions League or the [Spanish] league. So I hope my goals will help the team to win. And I feel confident, I feel good, and I want to carry on like that."
The downside of the night for Madrid was injuries to Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, with the most serious appearing to be a calf muscle problem which could sideline Bale for some weeks.
Karim Benzema -- who scored Madrid's other goal against Shakhtar -- told his club's official website that the injuries were a negative, but Los Blancos had a deep enough squad to cover the absences.
"The main thing was getting the win," Benzema said. "In the first half we struggled for rhythm, and three players getting injured is bad news for us. But the most important thing was picking up the three points at home, and we're very happy with that.
"Many good players get injured, but there is a deep enough squad to fill these places. I have a lot of confidence in myself, but the most important thing is that the team gets the win."
With James Rodriguez also currently out with a thigh muscle injury, Isco could be set for a run of starts in the team.
Reminded in the mixed zone of his coach Rafa Benitez having stated recently that he needed to score more, Isco said he was confident he could improve that area of his game.
"I try to help the team with the things that I have, I try to improve every day and I have to keep on moving forward," he said. "I want to score more goals too. It's not something that I'm worried about and I'm certain that they'll come soon."