Cristiano Ronaldo is set to keep his “lucky” goatee beard – after scoring again to keep Portugal on course for the World Cup last 16.
Ronaldo scored the only goal in Portugal's hard-earned 1-0 win over Morocco, his fourth of the tournament to stretch his lead in the race for the Golden Boot.
The Real Madrid superstar sported his new look for the Morocco clash in Moscow, with team-mate Cedric Soares admitting Ronaldo will keep the beard for good luck.
Asked about Ronaldo's beard, Southampton defender Cedric said: “It's just an option – maybe he wanted to have it like mine, as I have one as well and maybe it's bringing him some luck.
“So I hope he keeps it. If you look at our squad, a lot of us have beards.
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“I know why I have it – I started in England and now I don't want to take it off because it's bringing me and us some luck.”
Ronaldo revealed the reason for the beard after the win over Morocco.
"The goatee?" said Ronaldo. "It’s a joke I had with Ricardo Quaresma ‘We were in the sauna and I started to shave and I left the goatee. ‘I said if I score I would leave it for the rest of the me luck, so it stays.’"
West Ham defender Jose Fonte echoed Portugal team-mate Cedric with a similarly glowing tribute to Ronaldo after his latest goal-scoring display.
"He's relentless, he's just relentless,” said Fonte. “He's a very hard-working player, he's always in training practicing finishing, practicing free-kicks, practicing everything.
“He takes care of himself, he takes care of his body and he's always ready, that's him.
"He's changed his mentality since he was at Manchester United to what he is now. He's a goalscorer now, he's a machine scoring goals.
"He's a great leader and a great example to everyone, so we are just blessed to have him.
With Ronaldo having scored all four of Portugal's goals here in Russia, Fernando Santos's side have been accused of being too reliant on the 33-year-old.
But Cedric insisted there was no shame in relying – in his opinion – on the best player in the world to produce moments of brilliance and Portugal will continue to look to Ronaldo to inspire them.
“We know Cristiano is an amazing football player,” said Cedric. “He's the best in the world.
“You can give him the ball and you know he'll try something, try to get something out of it always.
“It gives me pleasure and I'm proud to be a part of it, to be here and to be able to play with him.
“I think he's amazing, it's true. He works every day. It's a fact. Everyone works a lot, but he's always focused. It doesn't matter where he is. He's always working.
“He can lose it sometimes. It's normal. He takes risks. But you know he can do something different sometimes, because he's so special. He's shown it so many times. You can rely on him.
“When he gets an opportunity, he normally scores. Most of the strikes, when they get opportunities,
they need five to score a goal. It's normal.
“If you put me a striker, I'd need 10! With him, one or two opportunities and it's one goal. You can count on him.
“We still try our best, always. Of course, it's important for us to have him. It's much more difficult to play without him but we have him and we trust him.
“Again he was very important to us and he always will be. It is good to know we can count on him and I am sure he will be there for us in the next game.
“He knows that we all support him as the best player in the world. He proved it again today one more time and is proving it every day. Definitely we are happy to count on him.”
A draw against Iran – who pushed Spain all the way in thieir 1-0 defeat – will be enough to send Portugal, winners of Euro 2016, through to the knockout stage.
Portugal started slowly two years ago, growing in confidence and eventually being crowned champions by beating France in the final.
And Cedric said there was a similar feeling in the Portugal camp here in Russia. “I think this group stage is very difficult, to be honest,” he said.
“There's a lot of pressure on the big teams and there's less pressure on the smaller teams. And it's a World Cup.
“To be here, it's already the best of the best. There's no easy games. The other groups, everyone expected a lot of teams to win and they didn't.
“It's a fact that football is changing a little and we need to always fight. The big teams, the small teams -- it's just a name. On the pitch, it's totally different.
“I think it's a good for football. It's getting more competitive and we're prepared for it.”