Jose Mourinho hailed Cristiano Ronaldo after his compatriot netted a hat-trick in Portugal’s 3-3 draw with Spain in Group B of the World Cup.
Ronaldo, 33, became the fourth player to score in four World Cups and completed his treble with a brilliant free-kick late on.
The superstar’s equaliser was his 84th international goal and Mourinho, his former manager at Real Madrid, had nothing but praise for the forward.
“He’s got what I used to call the feeling of the game, the specific intelligence of playing football,” he told RT.
“He knows the team is in trouble, he knows the team is not creating, he’s frustrated on the pitch, nobody could see Portugal scoring and he knows one possibility of scoring is set plays.”
On Ronaldo’s free-kick strike rate in major international tournaments – the goal was his first in 45 attempts – Mourinho added that Ronaldo is well practiced from the dead ball.
“That position is a position I saw him train free-kicks for hours after training, asking one of my assistants to put the wall for him, to stay with him and give him balls,” he said.
“He was looking for that, he gave his body to [Gerard] Pique, looked for contact. He’s clever, in control of every detail.
“His record lately is not the best for the number of free-kicks he takes for club and the national team, but this one is critical and crucial. It’s what can affect the team, the confidence, the next match, the rivalry, what it means for the Portuguese people.”
Portugal continue their World Cup campaign against Morocco in Moscow on Wednesday.