Cristiano Ronaldo has been touted as a "total genius" for winning Portugal's controversial penalty in the 3-2 victory over Ghana in the World Cup by a FIFA member.
The 37-year-old tucked home Portugal's opening goal from the spot to become the first player to score in five separate World Cup tournaments, though the decision to award the penalty left Ghana furious.
However, a FIFA member has suggested that the awarding of the penalty was down to the play of Ronaldo, who was deemed to have been fouled by Ghana's Mohammed Salisu.
In a briefing in Doha, FIFA technical study group (TSG) member Sunday Oliseh declared forwards were "getting smarter" and believes it was Ronaldo's intelligence that led to the awarding of the spot-kick.
"Maybe the strikers are getting smarter?" he said, per the BBC.
"The Ronaldo penalty, people can say what they want about him, but the smartness to wait for that second, to touch the ball, continue his leg and then get the contact. That is total genius.
"Let's give strikers the compliment for getting smarter. VAR is also a major reason why this [more penalties being awarded] is happening. Referees can look at it three or four times."
Nine penalties have been awarded in the first 20 games of the World Cup, seven of which have been scored – the exceptions being Poland's Robert Lewandowski and Canada's Alphonso Davies.
That figure is on track to beat the total number of penalties at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where 20 were awarded across the 64 matches.
5 - Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first player to score five in different editions of the World Cup (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022). Limitless. pic.twitter.com/w6noDKxoVR— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 24, 2022