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World Cup 2022: Rafael Leao heaps praises on hat-trick hero Goncalo Ramos

Goncalo Ramos

Rafael Leao has hailed fellow Portugal striker Goncalo Ramos after Ramos' scintillating display in Portugal's 6-1 World Cup win over Switzerland on Tuesday.

Goncalo Ramos was handed his first start by Portugal boss Fernando Santos. The 21-year-old replaced their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and showed no signs of nerves, as he bagged a hattrick against the hapless Swiss side.

Ramos started the night with a wonder goal, as his left-footed strike went past Switzerland keeper Yan Sommer at no time from an impossible angle. Just after the break, he double his tally with a poacher's finish. He capped off his night with another beautiful goal, this time a cheeky dink over the Swiss keeper. His night was not over there, as the talented player racked an assist by setting up Raphael Guerreiro.

After this dream start, Rafael Leao was at all praises for Ramos.

"We have a lot of players of great quality, and he is another young man who showed a lot of quality," Leao told Sport TV after the match.

"Today he had the opportunity to be in the starting line-up, he helped the team and we are very happy for him," he added.

The added factor of Goncalo Ramos' performance is that Portugal didn't miss their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who was left on the bench for the first time in 31 major competition matches in Portugal colours.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Leao himself is one of the young sensations of this current Portugal crop. He came on as a late substitute and scored a superb goal to complete the drubbing. He has also made a case for him in the next match as the Portuguese face Morocco in the quarterfinals.

Goncalo Ramos also became the second player to score a hat-trick on his first World Cup start. The only other player to do the same is Germany's Miroslav Klose.

The striker showed technique, athleticism, and poise at the grandest stage and will surely lead the line against the Atlas Lions. He came into the tournament with a prolific record for his club Benfica. Ramos has scored 14 goals for Benfica this season in all competitions, in just 21 matches.

He has all the ingredients to become a world-class footballer and will be aiming to play an integral part in Portugal's bid for the World Cup in Qatar.

(with inputs from Omnisport)

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Story first published: Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 15:01 [IST]
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