Tottenham manager Antonio Conte hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as one of football’s greatest ever players after watching him steal the show at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to inspire Manchester United to a 3-2 victory against Spurs in the Premier League, moving them back up to fourth position in the process.
It ended a run of one goal in 10 matches in 2022 for Ronaldo, but his quality was never in doubt for Conte and he hailed the player’s ability to still be at the top of his game at this stage of his career.
- Cristiano Ronaldo breaks FIFA goals record as Man Utd beat Tottenham
- Rangnick tells unhappy Marcus Rashford he can leave this summer
According to FIFA, Ronaldo is now the highest-scoring player in the history of men’s football and Conte hailed him and Messi as the best players of this era, on a par with Diego Maradona and Pele in the history of the game.
“It was an amazing performance from Cristiano, but I know him very well and it’s not a surprise for me,” Conte said.
“We’re talking about a player that with Messi they are the best players in the world right now, with Maradona and Pele [in history] in my opinion, we’re talking about a player who is decisive and in the moment the team needed him he’s always present.”
Conte highlighted Ronaldo’s five goals in the UEFA Champions League group stage as an example of his ability to produce when it matters.
“I remember very well the Champions League group for Manchester United and he was decisive to go to the next round,” he said.
“He’s a player who feels this type of game. Tonight we didn’t discover him. A great compliment to him because to arrive at this age with this form and mentality and this desire to win you have to give all the great compliments to your opponent.”