Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick helped Juventus to storm back from a 2-0 first leg deficit and beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 to earn a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.
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.
“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.”
His latest extraordinary performance means that:
- Ronaldo has now scored 124 goals in Europe’s elite club competition – that’s 18 clear of second-placed Lionel Messi on the list of leading scorers. It’s also more than three-time finalists Atletico Madrid’s entire total.
- Ronaldo has scored eight Champions League hat-tricks, the joint-most in the competition alongside Messi.
- Ronaldo remains in contention to add to his five Champions League titles – only Real Madrid legend Francisco Gento, with six, has won more European Cups.
- It is almost four years since a team featuring Ronaldo was knocked out of the Champions League and he could still win the competition for a fourth consecutive season.