The king is alive, long live the king!
Joao Felix making his senior debut was supposed to be the storyline of Portugal’s Nations League clash with Switzerland.
In reality it was Cristiano Ronaldo, who, with his face painted by a familiar smirk, stole the show once again.
On what was his Nations League debut, the 34-year-old scored a hat-trick to make it an incredible ten different international tournaments in which he’s found the net for Portugal – his first coming many moons ago back in Euro 2004.
While there’s no denying that das Quinas are very much a side on the up, with quality personnel littered throughout their latest XI – Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes pulling the strings in midfield, Ronaldo remains the ‘Pied Piper’ of the national team.
Moments after his free-kick, the man of the moment continued his reign of terror as he harvested the soul of Switzerland right-back Kevin Mbabu, pulling out a piece of skill that even the staunchest Lionel Messi fan could appreciate.
This man has a family, have mercy Cristiano.
With the scoreline marooned at 1-1, it took the Juventus man to break the deadlock before he added a quickfire third to complete an exceptional hat-trick.
While Ronaldo shone, Felix lasted just 70 minutes before being replaced by Goncalo Guedes, marking a disappointing debut for the youngster.
Portugal fans were given a glimpse of the future but Felix’s performance, partnered with the majesty of Ronaldo, emphasised that a change of talisman isn’t forthcoming any time soon.
The pair combined moments before half-time, as Ronaldo found his protégé with an outrageous no-look pass before Felix could only blast over the bar.
That move could have signalled a symbolic passing of the baton.
If England progress past Holland in their semi-final, Gareth Southgate’s men will face an in-form Ronaldo baying for another trophy to add to his illustrious CV.
Felix might well be the future, but Ronaldo is very much still the present.
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