Although the career of the legendary ‘original’ Ronaldo may have been cruelly inhibited by injury, he still managed to produce a seemingly unending number of spectacular moments, not least his superb hat-trick in Barcelona’s breathtaking 5-4 win over rivals Atletico in 1997.
La Blaugrana were in turmoil after the departure of the god-like Johan Cruyff at the end of the 1995/1996 season, yet the late, great Bobby Robson came in to steady the ship, bringing in an emerging talent who’d been catching the eye in Holland – Ronaldo Nazario.
Robson’s solitary season in charge was also the only campaign in which the young Brazilian would spend in Catalonia, although despite that brief stint, both men were still able to make a telling impact, particularly in the Copa del Rey, second-leg quarter-final clash with Atletico.
Level at 2-2 from the first leg, Barca were in a commanding position due to their two away goals, yet that went out the window almost immediately as Milinko Pantic hit a hat-trick inside 30 minutes.
Trailing 3-0 at the break and needing four goals to progress, Robson’s men produced one of the football’s most thrilling comebacks in the second-half at the Nou Camp, Ronaldo netting two inside five minutes of the restart, before Pantic looked to have dampened any hopes of a revival with his fourth of the match.
Up stepped Luis Figo to spark renewed belief, before Ronaldo netted an equaliser – and his third – with a composed turn and finish just inside the box. The comeback was complete with eight minutes to go, Juan Antonio Pizzi sending the home crowd into raptures.
While the game itself was nothing short of extraordinary, R9’s treble was in itself pretty special, as you can see for yourselves below: