Brady joins the applause as Ronaldo treble sends United 4th

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Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo scores his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, March 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

MANCHESTER – The NFL's greatest rose to applaud the soccer great.

Tom Brady picked the perfect moment to come to Old Trafford to witness a rarity from Cristiano Ronaldo: A Manchester United hat trick.

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While the record seven-time Super Bowl winner is enjoying the start of his retirement, Ronaldo is showing there's still goals left in this 37-year-old veteran.

The header that completed Saturday's treble against Tottenham required something more from the Michael Jordan playbook with a leap in the air to meet a corner, ensuring United won 3-2 and went fourth in the Premier League.

Ronaldo was able to savor the acclaim of the crowd after being substituted moments after the 81st-minute winner, with Brady among those providing a standing ovation.

While the Portugal forward now has 59 career hat tricks, only one other before Saturday had been in a United jersey — in January 2008 against Newcastle during his first six-season spell at the club.

United was on its way to winning the title 14 years. Now it's just about securing Champions League qualification in Ronaldo's first season back from Real Madrid.

The title fight is between Manchester City and Liverpool, with Jürgen Klopp's team again closing the gap on the leaders to three points by beating Brighton 2-0 on Saturday through goals from Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah.

The day's other game saw Ivan Toney’s late double give Brentford a 2-0 win over Burnley to move nine points clear of the relegation zone.


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