Real Madrid 3-0 Atletico Madrid, this is what the score tally reflected when Atletico visited Santiago Bernabeu for the first leg of Champions League semi-finals. The man, the legend and the game himself, Cristiano Ronaldo did the unthinkable, yet again and scored his second consecutive hat-trick at home.
The game was definitely the best one during the whole Real Madrid’s Champions League campaign as we witnessed the best form of the players right in the midfield, at the back and at the attacking front. Yes, there were some misfired shots but Zinedine Zidane’s men compensated it with an unbreachable defense against their neighbors.
The first strike came as early as in the 10th minute when Sergio Ramos’ cross was refused by Diego Godin, but Casemiro dived on the loose ball into the midfield and sent it back towards the six-yard box, where Cristiano Ronaldo stole it from Atletico defender Stefan Savic to head home.
Throughout the first half, Atletico Madrid came very close to scoring an equalizer but never managed to cross the finish line. The story continued after the break and in the last twenty minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo again went for glory not once but twice, making it the best day for Santiago Barbeau after the El Clasico loss to Barcelona.
Ronaldo was in his prime and his hat-trick forced us to compare it with the one he struck against Bayern. Although the importance of these two games is subjective, but his contribution in Real Madrid 3-0 Atletico Madrid, definitely made him one of the best big games player.
Moreover, the four-time Ballon d’Or winner now has seven Champions League hat-tricks under his belt and a total of 103 Champions League goals, the most by any player.
Every player who happens to be on the wrong side of 30 or accelerate towards the mark, struggles to maintain the pace as their legs suddenly happen to feel heavier, young talent start to whizz by with their superbike like speed and the old magic starts to disappear. However, that is not the case with Cristiano Ronaldo as bowing down is not his style.
The Portugal national has always been able to tweak and refine his game over the years and has never failed to adapt in order to replicate his former glory, so criticizing Cristiano Ronaldo for not flying down the wing and attempted full-back shot is not the right thing to do. He was, still is and will always be the man capable of leading at the front, and will always need the support from the midfield because football is not a single man’s game.
As for the Messi-Ronaldo debate, they both have the most number of hat-tricks in Champions League (7) as well as in La Liga (8) and they have been dominating the Ballon d’Or award for quite some time now. Choosing the best will always be difficult when it comes to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and if you still need an answer, you need to wait till both of them hang their boots because then, you will have all the time to scrape all the statistics. However, there is more to Messi and Ronaldo rather than just records and stats.