Cristiano Ronaldo urged to retire despite Man Utd heroics and 60th hat-trick

Garth Crooks believes that Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo should retire at the end of the season while he’s still “at the top” of his game.

Ronaldo scored all three of United's goals in their 3-2 win over Norwich City on Saturday afternoon. United showed all of their flaws at Old Trafford against the Premier League’s bottom side but were once again bailed out by their superstar forward.

Ronaldo tapped in the opener, headed in a corner and then smashed in a long-range free-kick to win it after United had allowed Norwich back in it through some shocking defending. It was his 60th career hat-trick across international and club football and moved him onto 21 goals for the season from 34 games.

The 37-year-old has frequently come up trumps when it matters for United this season and he still has another year left on his contract. However, former Tottenham striker Crooks has urged him to call it a day this summer and go out before he experiences a serious dip in form.

"Scoring three or four hat-tricks in your professional career must be enormously gratifying, but to score your 50th club hat-trick is just off the scale,” Crooks wrote in hisBBC Sport column. “Ronaldo's second goal against Norwich was a glimpse of the player we saw 10 years ago, playing for Real Madrid.

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“The movement and timing of his header was sheer brilliance. I made the point last week, in the Crooks of the Matter, that Ronaldo had been given a wonderful opportunity to retire from European league football this season at the top. Manchester United have provided him with that opportunity and I hope he takes it."

It doesn’t appear likely that Crooks will get his wish. Ronaldo remains hugely motivated and his commitment to his fitness means he is still in good shape to keep playing into the 2022/23 season.

Speaking at the FIFA’s The Best award ceremony in January, when he was presented with the Special Award for his record with Portugal, he suggested there was plenty more gas in the tank. He said: “The people sometimes ask me how many more years I'm going to play, and I say I hope to play four, five more years. It's all about mentality."

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