Real Madrid manager and former Galactico Zinedine Zidane picked Cristiano Ronaldo out as a cut above the rest following his four-goal haul in Saturday's 7-1 thrashing of Celta Vigo.
The 1998 World Cup winner even went so far as to say he couldn't have replicated Ronaldo's 26-minute feat during his playing days, per Spanish newspaper Sport.
"Only he has it [that technique]. He’s at Madrid, he’s strong, he’s playing well and he can score four goals in 40 minutes—I could never have done that. It was important for him before the Champions League [game with Roma in midweek]."
Ronaldo's four strikes took him up to second in La Liga's all-time top scorer list, having now scored 252 goals in 228 league appearances since moving to the Bernabeu from Manchester United in 2009.
Sport also outlined that after a slow start to the 2015-16 campaign, Ronaldo is in pole position to land this season's Pichichi Trophy—the award given to La Liga's top scorer—moving ahead of Barcelona's Luis Suarez:
SPORT English @Sport_EN
Ronaldo 27 Suarez 25 Messi 19 Benzema 19 Neymar 18 https://t.co/PtuEtxc31w2016-3-5 19:03:25
Ronaldo netted his four goals in under half an hour, but the result didn't always look so secure for a Real Madrid team that went in at the break being whistled and jeered by their own fans.
Zidane was pleased to see his star man respond in such a prolific manner and went on to further outline that only the Portuguese is capable of such accomplishments: "And they know Cristiano. He's capable of scoring four—he's unique."
The Real Madrid manager may have also been seen as something of a "unique" talent during his five years in the Spanish capital, and if he were the talisman of that period, Ronaldo is certainly the incumbent of the present day.
Real Madrid remain nine points off La Liga leaders Barcelona, a gulf it seems unlikely they'll be able to close, but Zezo Cartoons depicted this as at least alerting the Blaugrana to Ronaldo's awakening (h/t Eurosport):
Eurosport UK @Eurosport_UK
Before and after: the four goal Cristiano Ronaldo eruption against Celta de Vigo | @ZEZO_CARTOONS https://t.co/FpSmWqioIP2016-3-5 17:56:44
Zidane can only hope his attacking leader is capable of piecing together more displays like this one. And if Barca and Atletico Madrid can drop points, who knows what may happen in the title race?
With a talent like Ronaldo, even a turnaround of this magnitude can't be ruled out, and Zidane, a fellow Ballon d'Or winner, certainly recognises world-beating talent when he sees it.