"I'm not going to lie – obviously, I'm very happy with the goals and the records," Cristiano Ronaldo told UEFA.com after taking his UEFA Champions League tally to 80 goals.
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A third UEFA Champions League hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo moved the competition's top scorer onto 80 goals as Real Madrid cruised to a 4-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday one.
"I'm not going to lie – obviously, I'm very happy with the goals and the records," the attacker told UEFA.com. "I get a sense of pride from being in this position, but I have to mention the team, because the team has helped me so much."
It might have been a different game were it not for an error from Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov, who after an even opening half hour of play spilled the ball into the path of Karim Benzema who opened the scoring. Following Taras Stepanenko's dismissal five minutes after the break it was one-way traffic, and Ronaldo took full advantage.
"It was a good game – a game where the result was perhaps a bit misleading because Shakhtar are a very good side and they play very good football," admitted the Portugal international, who has now scored eight goals in his last two games following his five-goal haul against Espanyol on Saturday.
"They had a man sent off and I think maybe because they were down to ten men it was a slightly exaggerated result given what happened in the game, especially in the first-half.
"We're on the right track – we're doing well. The side have confidence and we want to continue this way."
Indeed, new Madrid coach Rafael Benítez could not have wished for a better European start with the Merengues and he reserved special praise for his hat-trick hero. "I know Cristiano's level and value," said Benítez. "He is the best player in the world and I will repeat this every time you ask me."
A tactical switch from Benítez shortly before Madrid opened the scoring shifted Ronaldo into a more advanced position, and his side went on to reap the benefits as the forward's goal-bound shot was adjudged to have struck Darijo Srna's arm for the first of his two penalties.
The 30-year-old then held his nerve to send Pyatov the wrong way before completing his treble ten minutes from time as he nodded in the rebound of Marcelo's long-range effort, and it was not just the boss who had words of appreciation for the club’s talisman.
"He simply never gets tired of scoring," said team-mate Nacho. "We know how important he is for the team."
Despite his thirst for goals, Ronaldo acknowledges the season is still young both on a domestic and European front. "The Liga is long haul and so is the Champions League and for this we just need to go step by step, nice and relaxed," he said.
"We need to carry on working and learning with humility, because we know that we've won nothing yet. We need to win games and be consistent all year, but thus far we're doing well."