Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed the reason behind his much talked about goatee after social media erupted once more during Portugal’s World Cup win against Morocco.
The Portuguese captain sparked an internet storm in his side’s opening game against Spain after celebrating his opening goal by stroking imaginary facial hair with his hands.
Conspiracy theorists were certain the goatee stroking was a petty dig at fierce rival Lionel Messi over the long-running debate about which player is the GOAT (greatest of all time).
Sportswear giant Adidas fuelled the debate prior to the World Cup with a cheeky promotional picture of Messi holding a goat.
Ronaldo again. Honestly think Paper Mag’s Messi with Goats photo shoot is responsible for Ronaldo’s extra gear at the World Cup. pic.twitter.com/dsZfMtZ4Yb
— Slade (@Slade) June 20, 2018
So when Ronaldo stepped out onto the pitch for his country’s second match against Morocco with a freshly-grown goatee, the internet was once again sent into a spin.
Cristiano Ronaldo's becoming so obsessed with this "GOAT"-stamp that he is actually growing a goatee now pic.twitter.com/4x1PWPw58C
— Jonas Giæver (@CheGiaevara) June 20, 2018
The man is obsessed in competing with Messi
— Mauro Ventura (@mavent12) June 20, 2018
He is literally telling the one that is always carrying goat that you don’t have to carry goat but play like a goat, perhaps showing example
— Slim sleeky Aramis (@saaramis) June 20, 2018
However, Ronaldo moved to dispel the rumours after the match – insisting he is growing the “lucky” goatee after a joke with Portugal team-mate Ricardo Quaresma.
Ronaldo displayed new facial hair for the game and revealed the inspiration for the goatee in his post-match press conference.
Portugal’s captain said: “This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma.
“We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee – I said if I score tomorrow I would leave it for the rest of the tournament.
“And it gave me luck, I scored that game, I scored this one, so it stays.”
The Real Madrid superstar headed an early winner as Portugal edged out Morocco, putting the Euro 2016 champions within a point of qualifying for the knockout stages.
The goal – Ronaldo’s fourth in two games – made him the top-scoring European in international football to dump Herve Renard’s Morocco out of the World Cup.
One the tournament’s star performers so far picked up where he left off after his hat-trick against Spain in Portugal’s opening 3-3 Group B draw, heading Fernando Santos’ men into an early lead with a goal that moved him to 85 international goals – one ahead of the legendary Ferenc Puskas in the all-time standings.
Following his hat-trick in Portugal’s pulsating 3-3 Group B draw with Spain, Ronaldo is leading the race to win the World Cup Golden Boot.