Cristiano Ronaldo paid tribute to his team-mates after celebrating receipt of the 2010/11 ESM Golden Shoe by netting his 12th Real Madrid CF hat-trick in Sunday's 7-1 home victory against CA Osasuna.
After collecting the Golden Shoe from Alfredo Di Stéfano and Eusébio before kick-off at the Santiago Bernabéu, the forward was quick to recognise his colleagues' contribution: "
Without my team-mates I wouldn't be able to score as many goals as I have done."
Ronaldo had predicted it "would be very difficult" to better his unprecedented, ESM award-winning haul of 40 Liga goals last season, yet the 26-year-old is already threatening to achieve a similar mark this time around. The Portuguese international's fourth treble of the campaign, against Osasuna, moved him on to 13 this term – one less than at this time last season.
"I'm always happy to score but the important thing is that the team won while playing well," said Ronaldo, after a midday kick-off in which Karim Benzema struck twice and Pepe and Gonzalo Higuaín also registered. "Being at home we knew we were favourites and we realised that if we scored one, we would have to go looking for a second and third because Osasuna are difficult opponents.
"Despite the fact we were playing late in the morning, I thought we started well. We aren't used to playing at that time and – though I prefer it – it felt a bit strange in the first half but in the second things went perfectly. We must have slept well last night."
Ronaldo had also reached a significant milestone in midweek when he got both goals in Madrid's 2-0 UEFA Champions League Group D win at Olympique Lyonnais. That double took his tally to 100 in all competitions since his €92m transfer from Manchester United FC in 2009.
Pace-setting Madrid's seventh straight Liga victory – and ninth overall – extended their advantage over second-placed FC Barcelona to three points. There was more good news for José Mourinho's men with Nuri Şahin coming off the bench to make his first appearance since his summer switch from Borussia Dortmund, the Turkey midfielder having been out with a knee ligament injury. "We are all thrilled for Nuri," said Ronaldo. "It was the perfect game for him to come back. He played well and grew in confidence."
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