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Ronaldo hits hat-trick in Match Against Poverty

Ronaldo and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang exchanged hat-tricks as AS Saint-Étienne's all-stars edged out a world XI 9-7 in a game that raised funds to help tackle Ebola.

Match Against Poverty ©AFP/Getty Images

Ronaldo rolled back the years by scoring a hat-trick as a world XI led by the Brazilian and fellow United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Zinédine Zidane took on a local team of AS Saint-Étienne all-stars in the annual 12th Match Against Poverty on Monday night.

Speaking ahead of an entertaining game which drew a crowd of almost 34,000 to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, a venue for UEFA EURO 2016, Ronaldo told UEFA.org that the annual UEFA-backed fixture was "much more important than just a football match" as funds raised will be used to help tackle Ebola.

UNDP will receive two-thirds of the match proceeds, which will go towards helping the hardest-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone recover from the epidemic. The remaining third goes to the club's Association ASSE Coeur-Vert, which supports social projects in Saint-Etienne.

Zidane paid tribute to the commitment of his fellow erstwhile greats – including the likes of fellow French heroes David Trèzeguet, Fabien Barthez, Éric Abidal, Christian Karembeu and Youri Djorkaeff with a sprinkling of Dutch, Italian, Czech, Nigerian and Brazilian stardust thrown in – in helping such a worthwhile cause.

Zidane and hat-trick man Ronaldo high-five
Zidane and hat-trick man Ronaldo high-five©AFP/Getty Images

"It's really great to meet up again and share a moment together," said Zidane. "It's a success to have these players here, a full stadium and a great party. People came to the stadium because it's a really important cause. Ebola has been devastating and it's a very important message to say that the donations will serve people in a region of the world that has suffered."

Ronaldo added: "When the football world comes together it can have a big impact, but we shouldn't forget that coming together has a precise objective. It's a message to say that we won't give up and we will continue sending help to the people in countries affected by the epidemic."

While the UNDP team drew players from around the world, St-Étienne's all-star side were able to welcome back a number of players who made their name in the famous green shirt, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kurt Zouma, who have respectively appeared in the UEFA Champions League for Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea FC this season.

Those younger legs told in the end, with Aubameyang scoring a late hat-trick of his own to ensure a 9-7 win for Les Verts to send the home crowd home happy.

Former Nigeria playmaker Jay-Jay Okocha runs at the St-Étienne back line
Former Nigeria playmaker Jay-Jay Okocha runs at the St-Étienne back line©Getty Images