13th March, 2019
When the news that Cristiano Ronaldo would be leaving Real Madrid to Juventus F.C., very few people believed it would happen. But then they had to believe. Because it actually happened!
The Juventus Board had a rough time explaining why they had to spend so much money on someone who is no longer so young as a footballer. The only explanation that satisfied the fans was the fact that they are buying him in order to increase their chances of winning the Champions League crown.
After all, he was a major factor in their defeat in the finals to Real Madrid! That somehow made good sense and pacified the fans. Fast forward to the present. This guy has proven the Board right in their decision. He has not only shown the quality that attracted them to buy him, but has also been proved right as an indispensable player judging by the Real Madrid scenario since he left that team.
Now to his most recent exploits.
Juventus came back from a first leg 0-2 deficit against Atletico Madrid to power home to the quarter-final stage of the Champions’ League Competition by “trouncing” Atletico Madrid 3-0 in the return leg in Turin courtesy a hat-trick from guess who? Cristiano Ronaldo!
For those who know the Atletico Madrid team well, it is never easy to score three goals against their compact defence line (ask Barcelona and Real Madrid) talk less of a player doing so all by himself!
That will surely help you to understand the kind of miracle that Cristiano Ronaldo just managed to perform. He could not do such while in the almighty Real Madrid team against Atletico in Laliga and the Champions’ League Competitions before this match.
That also surely justifies the confidence reposed in him by the Juventus Board in their decision to buy him at his age and make their fans now understand that decision even better. Finally back to the game in question.
Juventus Maestro, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brilliant hat-trick as his team produced a stunning Champions League comeback, winning 3-0 at home against Atletico Madrid to progress to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.
It could have been more but for a VAR review which denied Juve a fourth-minute opener, but Ronaldo’s first header of the game gave them hope and the Serie A leaders drew level in the tie thanks to the Portugal superstar’s aerial power again.
Then came a decisive moment in the game as excellent Federico Bernardeschi drove into the penalty area and was brought down by Angel Correa, with Ronaldo stepping up with four minutes to go to convert the spot-kick and down Atletico yet again.
Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 25 goals against Atletico in his career, with the former Real Madrid player’s treble on Tuesday denying his old club’s city rivals the chance to play in this season’s final at their Wanda Metropolitano home.
The home team thought they had scored an early goal when Giorgio Chiellini struck from close range, only for referee Bjorn Kuipers to give a foul for Ronaldo’s challenge on goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
After that cooler for Juventus, Koke fired a warning shot over the crossbar at the other end but shortly, thereafter the hosts took a 27th-minute lead as Bernardeschi popped up on the left to deliver a wonderful in-swinging cross that allowed Ronaldo to overpower Juanfran at the back post and beat Oblak with a downward header.
Oblak tipped over a header from Chiellini but Atletico almost levelled on the stroke of half-time with Alvaro Morata only able to nod Koke’s right-wing centre over the top.
Four minutes after the restart, goal-line technology was this time around in favour of Juventus as it ruled that Oblak failed to keep out another Ronaldo header after a cross came in from Joao Cancelo.
With the result of both legs now level, Juventus smelled blood and sent on Paulo Dybala and Moise Kean, the teenager drilling a massive chance wide of the far post moments after his introduction.
Juventus’ Bernardeschi had to drop into a deeper role following the attacking changes but the winger still found a way to forge forward and drew a clumsy foul from Correa after a dazzling solo run, resulting in Kuiper pointing to the spot.
Ronaldo was never going to miss, sending Oblak the wrong way to ensure Juve marched on at Atletico’s expense, Diego Simeone’s side going out of the competition after failing to record a shot on target in the second leg.
Massimiliano Allegri recently suggested Juventus is suffering from a Champions League “obsession”, but the purchase of Ronaldo from Madrid for €112 million was a clear statement of intent in Europe.
Juve have had plenty of heartache in this tournament in recent years but Ronaldo, four times a winner with Madrid in the last five years, dragged them over the line. That is why they bought him and another Champions League comeback was completed in style.