Cristiano Ronaldo was signed to win Juventus the Champions League – and he might yet do just that. The Portuguese produced his latest masterclass in Europe’s elite competition to bring the Italian side back from the brink of a last-16 exit against Atletico Madrid and book their place in the quarter-finals.
Trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Spain, Ronaldo was facing up to the prospect of failing to reach at least the semi-finals for the first time since 2010 – and only the second time in 12 seasons. But then this happened…
Ronaldo joined Juventus from Real Madrid last summer in a £99.2m deal, becoming one of the most expensive players of all time in the process.His remit was, in large part, to help the Turin club win the Champions League.
“This was why Juventus brought me here, to help do things that they have never done before,” said Ronaldo, who has now scored 18 goals in his past 14 Champions League knockout appearances and has been directly involved in 76 goals in 77 knockout matches (62 goals, 14 assists).
“It was always going to be a special night and it was – not only for the goals but for the team. “This is the mentality you need to win in the Champions League. We enjoyed a magical night. Atletico were a difficult team but we were strong too. We will see what will happen.”
Rio Ferdinand, a team-mate of Ronaldo’s during their time together at Manchester United, told BT Sport: “Cristiano is a living football god and it is ridiculous what he is doing.“In the Champions League he has got every record you can imagine. And it was also against an Atletico team that is renowned for having a great defence.”
Atletico think he’s a real pain in the backside. They have now been knocked out of the Champions League by a team containing Cristiano in every season they’ve competed in it since 2013-14. He scored against them in Real’s 4-1 win in the 2014 Champions League final. Real knocked them out in the 2014-15 quarterfinals and beat them on penalties in the 2016 final (with Ronaldo scoring the decisive kick). In 2016-17, Ronaldo scored a first leg hat-trick against them in the semi-finals. Atletico ended up in the Europa League last season but have now returned to the top table and been done by Ronaldo once again.Ronaldo has now scored 25 goals in 31 matches against Atletico for Real and Juventus. Only Sevilla have suffered more at the hands of Ronaldo (27 goals).