With his three-goal salvo in the Club World Cup final when Real Madrid needed him most, Cristiano Ronaldo capped a stunning individual year that has seen him reach Pele levels of greatness.
Joining the heralded Brazilian as one of only two players ever to score a hat-trick in a Club World or Intercontinental Cup final, the Ballon d’Or winner not only fired his team to glory, but also capped a memorable year that will no doubt lead to him being viewed as one of the all-time greats.
Trailing 2-1 in the 58th minute against opponents Kashima Antlers, Real were in a hole that only the Portuguese superstar could dig them out of.
Netting his first from the penalty spot following a foul on the impressive Lucas Vazquez, the Ballon d’Or winner gave Zidane’s men the lead with a crisp effort in extra-time, before sealing matters with an emphatic shot into the roof of the net.
The hat-trick means that Ronaldo is now tied with Luis Suarez as the top scorer in Club World Cup history and also becomes the first Los Blancos player since Ferenc Puskas to register a triple in an intercontinental tournament.