Ronaldo opened the scoring with a smart free kick shortly after half time, then Tevez struck shortly after to more or less kill the game. Ronaldo grabbed his second after a delightful passing move; Rio Ferdinand finished superbly to add a fourth; Ronaldo grabbed his hattrick with probably the least impressive goal of the three, before Tevez finished the rout in the dying seconds with an effort that just about crossed the line.
This was the winger's first hattrick of his career - he has scored 13 doubles for United prior to this - and though he is delighted with the achievement, he maintains he will be happy scoring any amount of goals in a game, as long as they are coming regularly.
“I’ve said before, if I score two in every game then I’m very happy,” he said to Setanta Sports. “But I’ve looked for a few years to score three goals for this massive club and I’m very proud.
“It’s a special day. I’m happy of course to win the game and to go top of the league, I think this is most important. It is also important to score, to help my team and today I’m very proud and happy.”
Ronaldo made no secret of what his priorities were, insisting that it was crucial that United - having regained top spot in such style - must keep performing to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
“It’s important to stay at the top of the table,” he declared. “If the team plays like that, in the second half, I’m sure we are the best team. But you need to keep going like that. It’s a good moment for the team and for the players.”
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored an outstanding 22 goals in 24 games in all competitions so far this season.