Playing for his Manchester United against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, Cristiano Ronaldo turned back the clock. After a truly up and down season for the Red Devils, the football legend scored three goals and played a fantastic game. Manchester United really needed all three goals, as Tottenham is known to make stirring comebacks, once through a Harry Kane penalty and once through a Harry Maguire own goal.

While the 37-year-old Ronaldo is already past his prime, it’s always thrilling to witness him play at a high level and flash his brilliance on the pitch.

3 takeaways from Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Tottenham

3. Manchester United can still end up in the top four 

Right now, the Red Devils are in fourth place, but they are hanging by a thread. Arsenal is technically in sixth place, but they still have four games to play and are just two points behind. Still, with the inexperience of Arsenal, Manchester United can still get the no. 4 spot. Of course, it is very difficult to expect Ronaldo to score a hat-trick in every game until the end of the season, but if his form continues like this, they have a chance. Man U has three massive games remaining against Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea.

While common sense would say Manchester United would easily lose against a Liverpool side that is fighting hard for the EPL, Ronaldo’s teams cannot be disregarded so easily. They did lose against Manchester City pretty convincingly, but CR7 was not in that game. He is the true leader of the club and he was likely the reason why they mentally remained in the game versus Tottenham despite the setback. Ronaldo will need to maintain his vintage form to give Man U a chance.

Live and breathe sports?

🚨 Get viral graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo is closer to the surefire GOAT status 

This is a tumultuous topic in any sport. We are all aware of the heated debate in the NBA between LeBron James and Michael Jordan. A similar situation is in football between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. That debate shifts ever so slightly every year, but it was largely accepted that whoever anyone considers the greatest of all time, both Ronaldo and Messi are having a tough season. Messi is already out of the Champions League, while also scoring just twice in Ligue 1. Ronaldo is having a better season, but his team is doing much worse than Messi’s PSG.

However, individual performances always add more value to a player’s case. It might seem like a meaningless league game, but the match against Tottenham was huge for Manchester United, especially after losing the Manchester Derby so convincingly. Ronald0’s ability to turn up in huge games is something that his fans always hold in high regard, in terms of his GOAT case. Now, he needs to sustain his form to really impact the overall debate. Also relevant to the matter, in the same week that Ronaldo saved his team against the Spurs, Messi was mostly invisible in a huge game versus Real Madrid. Ronaldo might be an inch closer to being the greatest footballer of all time.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo is not finished 

In truth, Ronaldo is having one of the worst seasons of his career. His team could be out of the Champions League, he had the longest goal drought of his career before scoring versus Tottenham, and he has been called washed by an increasing number of football analysts. An important thing to know about Ronaldo and his general aura is that criticisms against him are usually answered right away. It was indicative that many said he is quitting on his team, especially after some reports came out that he was unwilling to play versus Manchester City.

The answer came through a screamer from well outside of the box and a brilliant header to win the game for the Red Devils in the 81st minute against Tottenham. Ronaldo has been called finished before, many times during his stint with Real Madrid and Juventus. However, he always comes back strong, and it couldn’t come at a better time for Man U. Now, this could be a one-time thing and Ronaldo comes back to finish off the worst season since his early years in Manchester and Sporting, but that just would not look like the guy we have seen blossom into the player he is over the last 15 years. It is likely that he will be back to his goal-scoring ways, even against the mightly Liverpool on March 20.