FARO • Cristiano Ronaldo scoring goals for Portugal has become such a common affair that coach Fernando Santos preferred to focus on the age of his squad after their 5-0 World Cup qualifying home win over Luxembourg on Tuesday.
A 58th career hat-trick from the Manchester United forward helped Portugal stroll to their victory in Group A, ensuring they remain a point behind leaders Serbia, who moved onto 17 points with a 3-1 home win over Azerbaijan but have played a game more.
The treble, which meant Ronaldo became the first man to net 10 international hat-tricks, takes his tally to 115 international goals from 182 caps as he continues to pull away as the top men’s international goalscorer of all time.
However, Santos quashed suggestions that his veterans, including the 36-year-old Ronaldo, were likely to let him down again, after exiting both the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020 at the last-16 stage.
“I hear a lot about it (the age of the squad), I even understand, but wanting more changes than what we have done over the past six years are difficult,” Santos said.
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