“I’m happy with this first (league) hat-trick. But the important thing is the team, which played very well,” said Ronaldo, who brought his league tally to 13 goals in 15 games this season.
“We had to win today and put pressure on Inter.”
Cagliari held off Maurizio Sarri’s Juve early on, but the second half was all one-way traffic with 34-year-old Ronaldo breaking the deadlock just after the interval.
The Portuguese striker added a second from the penalty spot on 67 minutes then set up Gonzalo Higuain who came off the bench to strike a third nine minutes from time, before completing his hat-trick a minute later.
Juve are three points ahead of Inter in the table with Antonio Conte’s side travelling to eighth-placed Napoli looking to keep pace with the eight-time defending champions.
‘Like A God’Ronaldo’s heroics overshadowed Swedish star Ibrahimovic’s return for Milan as he came off the bench in the 55th minute against Sampdoria.
The 38-year-old had not played since leaving MLS side LA Galaxy in October.
He came on for Poland striker Krzysztof Piatek to deafening applause from the San Siro crowd after rejoining the club last week.
But there was little else to cheer for the hosts who extended their winless run to three games and remain 12th in the table.
“I felt a lot of adrenaline, emotion, it brought me back nine or 10 years,” said Ibrahimovic, who was top scorer in Serie A with Milan in the 2011-12 campaign before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain.
“I wanted to get on the pitch, score a goal and then celebrate like a God in front of the Curva! But it will happen next time.”
The seven-time European champions are 13 points off Champions League qualification, a competition they have not played since the 2013-14 season.
“You can see that the team is lacking confidence and aggression in scoring goals,” said the Swede.
“I will try everything possible to get Milan going again. There is a lack of faith here.”
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