Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick heroics for Portugal against Spain sent football fans wild all over the world.
The Real Madrid superstar announced his arrival at the World Cup in Russia with an awesome display to earn his team a 3-3 draw in a thriller in Sochi.
MATCH REPORT: Portugal salvage a point against Spain
It didn’t take long for Ronaldo to make his mark on the game, just four minutes in fact, when he was brought down by Nacho for a penalty.
Ronaldo was never going to let anyone else take the spot-kick and immediately took possession of the ball inside the Olympic Stadium.
He was ready to take the penalty under the glare of the floodlights but Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea had other ideas.
The Manchester United player left his goal line and approached the Ballon d’Or holder and stood inches from the ball on the spot.
Having been prevented from taking the penalty, Ronaldo kept calm as the referee ushered de Gea back to his position after his brief exchange with Ronaldo.
De Gea’s attempts to put off the No.7 failed, though, as he was sent the wrong way and could only see the ball fly past him into the net.
Celebrating the opening goal, the Portugal captain sprinted to the corner flag before making an unusual gesture as he appeared to stroke his chin.
Fans on Twitter wondered what Ronaldo’s actions meant but many were convinced it was a dig aimed at the bearded Red Devils shot-stopper after his mind games.
Was Ronaldo’s celebration mugging off de Gea’s beard??
— Paul Michael Maguire (@PMJMaguire) June 15, 2018
Bruh Ronaldo’s celebration mocking De Gea’s facial hair was great
— Garrison Stripling (@GarrisonStrips) June 15, 2018
Did Ronaldo just diss De Gea with that celebration?
— #CHAMP13NS 🏆⚽️ (@waynoLOL) June 15, 2018
— Hassan. 🇩🇪 (@mhamirza) June 15, 2018
But there was another, perhaps more credible, theory: it was aimed at Lionel Messi as part of the never-ending ‘greatest of all time’ debate.
Messi recently took part in an Adidas campaign that featured photos of the Argentine star holding a goat.
Ronaldo, who is sponsored by Nike in what has been an extra layer to their rivalry, might not have taken too kindly to that.
Did Ronaldo just stroke his chin bcos he’s the GOAT 🐐
— James Banton (@JamesBanton8) June 15, 2018
Did Ronaldo just imply he was the GOAT? What's with that chin scratch??? Loooool
— ♚Hold My Beer♚ (@gooner87mdh) June 15, 2018
— Desmond ohene kissi (@ohene_kissi) June 15, 2018
Haha Ronaldo hit the goat celebration 😂😂😂🔥🔥🔥
— Charlie Boomin’ (@kcc_charlie) June 15, 2018
— Swapnil™® (@mishuswapnil) June 15, 2018
Ronaldo tryna tell Messi who's the goat with that celebration?
— Bhushan 부샨 (@ithinkmfallin) June 15, 2018
with Yahoo Sport UK