Cristiano Ronaldo wrote himself into Juventus history books with a virtuoso performance that saw the Bianconeri come from 2-0 down for the first time ever in a Champions League knockout tie. Ronaldo’s hat trick, with two fine headers and a penalty converted under immense pressure saw Juve win 3-0 in Turin to send Diego Simeone’s Atleti, known for their defensive steel, crashing out of the competition. It was only the second time Los Colchoneros had lost in the knockout phases of the CL under Simeone- the other time was to Real Madrid when Ronaldo played for Los Blancos.
Check out the Italian papers’ reactions to Ronaldo’s hat trick against Atleti.
TuttoSport ran the headline “Marziani” (Martians) while Gazzetta went with “Ira d’Iddio” (Wrath of Gods). Corriere dello Sport chose the headline “Mostruoso”, paying tribute to the Portuguese superstar’s monstrous performance.
Atleti, as mentioned above, had beaten Juve 2-0 in the first leg. Los Colchoneros were clearly the better side in Madrid- it would require a near flawless performance from Juve to advance to the last eight, and that’s precisely what they did.
Massimilano Allegri’s men came firing on all cylinders and had the ball in the back of the net as early as the fourth minute, but VAR ruled that Ronaldo had fouled Atleti keeper Jan Oblak before Chiellini had converted from close range.
Ronaldo is however a man for the big occasion, as demonstrated during his stint with Real, and we, thanks to this Coral sign up offer, had a punt on the Portuguese star powering his side into the quarters. And he did it in style, with Atleti simply unable to cope with the home side’s constant attacking threats.
The first goal came on 27 minutes through Federico Bernardeschi’s cross, and Ronaldo, such a fine athlete in the air, beat Juanfran to the ball before nodding in. Another cross, this time from the boot of Joao Cancelo, saw Ronaldo double the Bianconeri’s advantage in the 49th minute. Oblak seemed to have done enough to parry that header away, but goal line technology clearly showed that the ball was past the line before the Slovenian got his hands to it.
Substitute Moises Kean missed a glorious opportunity to make it 3-0, but just when Juve fans were beginning to worry about the clock, Bernardeschi stepped up again. He ran rings around Angel Correa, who clipped him in the area in a desperate attempt to stop the winger. Ronaldo, cool as ice, converted the spot kick, and the Juventus Arena erupted.
There were few chances for Atleti’s game- Morata’s header was as close as they came to scoring. If the Juve team didn’t have Ronaldo, Atleti might have still harboured hopes of playing the final at their home ground. A disappointing evening for Diego Simeone and his men.