Smiles better: Eto'o celebrates his hat-trick for Chelsea against Manchester United at the Bridge on Sunday
It's been yet another thrilling weekend of football around the globe, with some heavyweight clashes to savour featuring a number of eye-catching performances from five standout individuals.
And so these are the players from across Planet Football that most hit the heights these past three days…
Onetime Tottenham Hotspur outcast Emmanuel Adebayor continued to repay manager Tim Sherwood’s faith in restoring the Togolese to the North London club’s starting lineup with two more goals against Swansea City on Sunday afternoon.
Prior to Sherwood’s elevation to the Spurs' hot seat, the lanky front man had found himself consigned to the reserves by previous coach Andre Villas-Boas; however, that decision by the Portuguese is now being made to look more foolish with every passing day.
And in South Wales, Adebayor was on hand to net his fifth and sixth goals in only eight matches since his recall to the starting XI as the visitors recorded a comfortable 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium.
"I can't take the credit for him, Emmanuel Adebayor has to take the credit," Sherwood told BBC Sport Online after the match.
"I have just given him the stage to go and perform. It's not as if he was never a good player."
Fresh on the back of winning the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the second time in his illustrious career, Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo was at it again against Real Betis at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on Saturday afternoon.
The 28-year-old took all of 11 minutes to open the scoring in Seville with a truly outrageous effort from fully 30 yards out that flew into the top right-hand corner of the net to send los Blancos on their way to a thumping 5-0 away win.
And so after a goal-laden past 12 months, the Portuguese superstar has not taken long to open his Liga account this year. CR7’s screamer against Betis was also the playmaker’s 31st already in this campaign in just 26 games in all competitions, 19 of which have come in the league.
If a recent report from Charles Reynolds of The Independent is to be believed, then Premier League champions Manchester United are keen to lure Chile international Arturo Vidal away from Juventus, and judging by the midfield player’s sparkling all-round display for the Serie A champions against Sampdoria on Saturday, you can understand why.
The all-energy 26-year-old produced yet another man-of-the-match performance at the Juventus Stadium to help the home side rack up their 12th straight league win of the season thanks to a thrilling 4-2 win against Sinisa Mihajlovic's plucky outfit.
Vidal’s opener came after just 18 minutes, when he ran on to Paul Pogba’s neat through-ball and executed a delicate dink past the advancing keeper. He then added a second from the penalty spot minutes before the break after it was the South American who was upended in the box.
And that first-half brace from the Chilean made it an impressive 15 goals so far in this campaign in only 27 matches in all competitions for Juve, 10 of which have come in the league.
Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho caused more than a few raised eyebrows prior to Sunday afternoon’s crucial league encounter with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge by opting to start with veteran striker Samuel Eto’o in attack ahead of the in-form Fernando Torres.
However, that is one of the self-styled Special One’s many great strengths—deciphering exactly which players are most suited to feature against a particular opponent.
Once again, though, the Portuguese was spot-on in thinking that the Cameroon international’s big-match experience, which includes a goal against United in the 2009 UEFA Champions League final for Barcelona, would prove decisive in the outcome of the match, as Eto’o netted a hat-trick in the Blues’ 3-1 win.
And what’s more, in the process, Eto’o became the first Chelsea player since 1954 to score three goals in a game against the Red Devils.
It’s been a tough campaign so far for former Italy international Alessandro Matri, with the 28-year-old having recently found himself shipped out on loan to Fiorentina in the January transfer window after failing to hit the heights with Serie A giants AC Milan.
Matri, who only joined the Rossoneri last summer from Italian champions Juventus for a fee of €12 million, found the back of the net just once in 15 league matches for Milan this season before his move to Florence.
However, all that was forgotten on Sunday afternoon after the striker scored twice and created another on his Fiorentina debut as his new side won 3-0 at Catania, with the player then dedicating his brace in Sicily to his girlfriend and family for having stood by him during his lean patch at San Siro.