JOHANNESBURG, March 13 – Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday said he was proud of his Champions League heroics against Atletico Madrid in Turin, adding that performances such as these were the reason Juventus signed him from Real Madrid.
Ronaldo scored a hat-trick, including two headers and a late penalty as Juventus stormed back from a 2-0 first leg deficit to beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 in the return and reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Ronaldo delivered the eight champions league treble of his remarkable career when such a contribution was needed most.
He had been snapped up by Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer of 2018, with the 34-year-old a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and European champion.
With Atletico packing their defence, Ronaldo made the crucial breakthrough in the 27th minute when he rose to head in Federico Bernardeschi’s cross at the far post.
The 34-year-old levelled the aggregate scores in the last-16 clash three minutes after halftime with another towering header, this time from Joao Cancelo’s cross.
With four minutes left, Bernardeschi powered into the Atletico area, was pushed in the back by Angel Correa and Ronaldo blasted home the penalty to send the entire Turin fans into frenzy.
After keeping his current club on course to help him add to that enviable haul of honours, Ronaldo said in his post-match comment: “It had to be a really special night and it was.
“If we continue like this, we have not won yet but we have reasons to be proud and we are on the right way.
“That’s why Juve signed me and I tried to do my best job.
“It’s a magical night. It was a very difficult team to play but we showed that we were a very big team. We proceed step by step, we will see.’’
Juventus are now into the last eight and can look forward in anticipation to the quarter-final draw on Friday.
It could be that Ronaldo is handed another emotional reunion with familiar faces at that stage. (NAN)