Many were surprised that he was even on the field at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, but when Cristiano Ronaldo left it he did so with the adoring chants of Real Madrid's fans ringing in his ears.
Jose Mourinho had been expected to rest the Portugal star ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last-16 clash against his former club Manchester United due to fitness worries, but the 28-year-old shrugged off any concerns with a virtuoso display.
He fired a hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Sevilla, and had a hand in the other goal, before being taken off with almost half an hour to play as the sounds of "Ronaldo, Ronaldo" resounded around the ground.
It was a touching moment for the player, who has not always had the closest relationship with the Madridistas despite his phenomenal scoring record.
He took his tally to 24 in La Liga this season -- behind only Lionel Messi's 34 -- and 36 in all competitions as he fired his 20th treble since joining Real from United for a world-record $130 million fee in 2009.