Ronaldo's hunger makes him the best in the world – Mario Rui

The Portugal left-back hailed his star countryman and stressed it’s his desire that sets him apart

Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s best player and is always hungry for more, Portugal team-mate Mario Rui declared.

Ronaldo inspired Portugal to a 6-0 thrashing of Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying on Thursday, scoring a hat-trick in the Group B win.

Mario Rui lauded his 34-year-old team-mate after Portugal moved a step closer to qualifying for next year’s showpiece tournament.

“He is the best in the world, never tired of winning, wanting more, and it is this hunger that makes him what he is,” the Napoli left-back said, via A Bola.

“We are happy to have him on the team and I hope he will continue to give us joy as he has done so far.”

Pizzi, Goncalo Paciencia and Bernardo Silva also scored for Portugal, who are second in the group on 14 points, behind Ukraine (19) but ahead of Serbia (13).

Portugal can secure their place when they visit Luxembourg on Sunday and Mario Rui said a tough task awaited his side.

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“Mathematically, we know it is not [guaranteed] yet,” he said. “We will face a tough team, Luxembourg, we still had that confirmation with the result in Serbia (who won 3-2).

“We know it will be a very difficult game, but our goal is to be at Euro 2020 and we will try to bring all three points to Portugal.”

Portugal coach Fernando Santos was grilled over Ronaldo’s fitness prior to the match, but stressed after it that he was never in any doubt that his star would be able to step up. 

“A lot of people were asking about Cristiano – what I said was that he was able to play, that Cristiano was fine,” Santos said at his post-match press conference. 

“It [his performance] didn’t surprise me. In fact, I am never surprised by Cristiano, I assure you. So, scoring a hat-trick was perfectly normal.”

After scoring his 55th hat-trick for club and country, Ronaldo has now scored 98 international goals to close in on Ali Daei’s record tally of 109.

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