Cristiano Ronaldo did what Cristiano Ronaldo does as Serie A returned on Monday afternoon, The Mirror reports.
The Portuguese superstar helped himself to a second-half hat-trick as champions Juventus defeated Cagliari in Turin.
It was the 36th league hat-trick of Ronaldo’s trophy-laden career, taking him to 13 goals in Serie A this term; only Lazio striker Ciro Immobile, with 19, has more.
What it also meant is that Ronaldo has become only the second player in history to score a treble in Serie A, La Liga and the Premier League. The other one is Alexis Sanchez.
There were expectations about the debut of Ibrahimovic. Zlatan Ibrahimovic failed to inspire AC Milan to victory on his return to the club after emerging from the bench in a 0-0 draw with Sampdoria at the San Siro. The former LA Galaxy striker signed a six-month contract with Milan, whom he played for between 2010 and 2012, last month and was named as a substitute on Monday.
Ibrahimovic replaced Krzysztof Piatek for the final 35 minutes – 2,794 days since his last Serie A appearance on 13 May 2012 – but could not find a winner for the hosts.
Inter Milan maintained their place at the top of Serie A with Romelu Lukaku scoring twice in a 3-1 win at Napoli. The former Manchester United forward netted two breakaway first-half goals to keep Antonio Conte’s side above Juve. Lukaku ran 60 yards and fired home left-footed for his first in the 14th minute and was then thankful for a howler from Napoli keeper Alex Meret after 33 minutes. Arkadiusz Milik pulled a goal back for the hosts six minutes later before Lautaro Martinez restored Inter’s two-goal advantage just after the hour mark.
Josip Ilicic scored twice as Atalanta kept up their pursuit for Champions League qualification with a 5-0 victory at home to Parma.
Papu Gomez, Remo Freuler and Robin Gosens gave the Nerazzurri a 3-0 half-time lead before Ilicic added a second-half double.
Riccardo Orsolini’s added-time equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw for Bologna at home to Fiorentina, who had led courtesy of Marco Benassi’s 27th-minute goal, while Rodrigo De Paul’s late winner earned Udinese a 1-0 victory at Lecce.
In other matches,
Roma 0 – 2 Torino
Brescia 1-2 Lazio
SPAL 0-2 Verona
Genoa 2-1 Sassuolo
Via The Mirror / Sports Mole