Portugal's Goncalo Ramos scores hat trick after Cristiano Ronaldo dropped

Portugal's hat-trick hero Goncalo Ramos said he had not even dreamed of starting a World Cup knockout match, let alone scoring three in his first start in the tournament.

The 21-year-old striker was handed a surprise start ahead of five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and rewarded coach Fernando Santos with a brilliant match-winning display.

"Not even in my wildest dreams did I think of making my first start in a World Cup knockout game and scoring three goals," he said. "But we have to think game by game and prepare for the game (quarter-final with Morocco). This result doesn't matter now. We're going to go all out in the next game."

Ramos was only two years old when Ronaldo made his debut for Portugal and has often spoken of his admiration for the 37-year-old.
The man of the match at the Lusail Stadium was asked how the dressing room -- and Ronaldo -- had reacted to the surprise team selection from Santos.

"Honestly, no one in the team talked about it. Cristiano, as captain, did what he does, he helped, he talked to us, not only to myself but to my teammates," he said. "Cristiano Ronaldo has always been a role model, he is an idol for many. I also like (Robert) Lewandowski and (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic," he added

Ramos was only making his fourth appearance for the national team, having played 10 minutes across two games in the group stage. He only made his debut on Nov. 17 in a pre-World Cup friendly against Nigeria, coming on as a 67th minute substitute and promptly scoring 15 minutes later with the fourth goal in a 4-0 win.

Born in Algarve, the forward has burst onto the scene with Benfica this season after being given an enhanced role as the central striker following the sale of Darwin Nunez to Liverpool.

He has scored 14 goals in 21 games in all competitions, quickly adjusting to his new role.

"My favorite position is forward, but last year I was asked to play in support of Darwin. It's clear that with his departure a space opened up for me. It's great to now have the role that I love the most," he said in a recent interview.

Should he continue his impressive impact on this Portugal side in the quarterfinal against Morocco he would surely find himself a target of the same kind of big money approach that saw Nunez leave.

But for now his thoughts are purely on contributing to Santos' increasingly impressive team and he isn't even taking his starting role for granted.

"That is something that doesn't concern me. I always work to the fullest and hopefully that is evident," he said.


© Agence France-Presse

6 comments about "Portugal's Goncalo Ramos scores hat trick after Cristiano Ronaldo dropped".
  1. R2 Dad, December 6, 2022 at 9:05 p.m.

    Portugal has been punching above their weight for quite some time now. Great player development, and not just with one club.

  2. Santiago 1314 replied, December 7, 2022 at 1:48 a.m.

    Funny how we hear about, La Massia, Belgium, Holland, Der ReBoot, but very little about Portuguese Academies, but they are Producing some very Exciting Players... Liked watching there game today

  3. Francisco Marcos, December 7, 2022 at 9:24 a.m.

    Bottom line is that Portuguese academy development is as as good as any in the world and have been for quite awhile ( probably a biased opinion coming from  a devoted fan of one of those, Sporting's CR7 Academy , but you can look up the results .

  4. david caetano replied, December 7, 2022 at 3:23 p.m.

    I have been to the sporting academy at the professional side and had the oppurtunity to also be shown and spoken to about the academy and some of their development strategies. My developement was in Connecticut, and played pro in Portugal and USA. Now reside in Portugal and witness almost daily the federation channel that goes into very good explanations by a panel of mostly former and present players/coaches. Benfica has the last few years developed a bigger amount of international stars. Sporting has done this for many years and when Portugal was European champion, about half the team was made at Sporting academy.

  5. david caetano, December 8, 2022 at 10:59 a.m.

    forgot to mention Sporting Academy in portugal has produced 2 players of the world, Figo and CR7

  6. david caetano, December 8, 2022 at 11:06 a.m.

    US soccer missed an oppurtunity to hire Dan gaspar and carlos Queiroz who was 2 time Portugal world youth champion and Coaches top level teams and various national teams in world cups wit Dan.  

    I wrote this in my blog about dan gaspar and carlos Queiroz taking over US soccer development and national team:


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