By Can Erozden
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo for his stellar performance against Spain during a 2018 FIFA World Cup match in which he scored a hat-trick to secure a 3-3 draw and the player's support for Palestine.
Erdogan made the comments during a question and answer session with Turkish youths in a live social media broadcast late Monday.
He praised Ronaldo's efforts against Spain as Portugal bagged a 3-3 draw thanks to the Real Madrid forward's three goals in a World Cup Group B match Friday evening.
Ronaldo, 33, is Portugal’s captain, most capped player and leading all-time goalscorer, scoring 84 international goals in 151 appearances for Portugal since August 2003, when he made his debut for his country.
In addition to his football talent, Ronaldo is regarded as a sensitive person, voicing support for oppressed people around the world.
The Real Madrid veteran can't be indifferent to oppressed people as he draws attention to Palestine and Syrian and Rohingya children on social media.
"His goal from free-kick [in the Spain match] is undisputed. Everyone can't achieve this. And his performance, character, belief -- especially his attitude on the Palestine issue -- these are very important. That's why I applaud him,” Erdogan said.
In the 88th minute of the match against Spain, Ronaldo took center stage once again to score a beautiful free-kick to save his team from losing the match.
Asked about his World Cup favorite, Erdogan said: "First I said Germany, but I was wrong. Germany were beaten in the first match. They might be in trouble. All heavyweights are being beaten. Germany was beaten, Brazil drew. However, Mexico made an excellent start to the World Cup."
Mexico upset reigning World Cup champions Germany as Hirving Lozano's first-half goal sealed a 1-0 victory for Mexico over Germany in Group F.
Meanwhile, Switzerland managed to hold Brazil to a 1-1 draw Sunday evening in their World Cup Group E match.
Title favorites Brazil were unable to claim victory against the Swiss team, which was a surprise result for the South American giants.