Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick guides you through all of your feelings in a single match

Cristiano Ronaldo went Throwback Thursday off schedule with this one. This was a vintage dive, reminiscent of his masterful dives from his days as the skinny kid you hated at Manchester United. Remember that guy? He was a wispy vessel holding all the promise in the world. His progress marked by every failed step-over and unrepentant dive. Every braced tooth was a shimmering beacon of hope. Times were simpler then.

Seems like ages ago that Ronaldo was more of a banter target than a hero. Now, with his greatness fully realized and on display every week, we only get glimpses of that annoying kid. But just when we start getting comfortable with old, springboard champion Cristiano, he brings us back to 2014, where you have to be a real miserable bastard to criticize his game.

He even misses spectacularly now.

Cristiano would score his La Liga record breaking 23rd hat-trick today — including the penalty resulting from the plunge onto Memory Lane — making him the fastest to 200 La Liga goals (178 games). His second and third goals were inoffensive efforts that would provide all the necessary fuel for poetic tweets about composure and finishing.

From braces to hat tricks. Poetry, or a lazy blogger trying to force a theme? It’s hard to tell. Soccer is a funny game that way. Regardless, deep down, Ronny is still that awkward kid worried about his teeth. That’s comforting. I’m not sure how, or to whom, but to someone, it’s comforting.

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