Ronaldo lifts Juventus into Champions League quarterfinals

16 March, 2019, 03:29 | Author: Greg Lawrence
  • Atletico defender Juanfran and Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez fight for the ball against Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo during the Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Juventus at Wanda Metropolitano stadium

Ronaldo's treble saw him equal Lionel Messi's record in the competition of eight, while it also means he has been involved in 77 goals in 77 Champions League knockout appearances - scoring 63 times and contributing 14 assists. In return his mission is help the Italian giants to win the Champions League for the third time and first since 1996.

Juve trailed Atletico Madrid by two goals heading into the round of 16 second leg in Turin but Ronaldo overturned the deficit with three goals as Juventus progressed with a 3-2 aggregate victory.

"He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano and, like me, was trying to show his character", said Simeone, who was fined 20,000 euros ($22,000) by UEFA for his gesture. The team lost in the Champions League final to Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016, and was eliminated by the same team in the 2017 semifinals.

The 48-year-old Simeone, who last month had his contract extended until 2022, arrived in December 2011 and led Atletico to the Europa League title that same season.

"Our self-esteem has grown", said captain Giorgio Chiellini of Ronaldo's presence.

"That's why Juventus bought me, to help them in games like this".

"I think we gave a wonderful evening of football to all those passionate about the sport in Italy".

The Portugal worldwide was signed by Juve for £100million last summer and a serious tilt at the Champions League was part of the reason that he moved to the club.

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"It had to be a special night and it was, not just for the goals, but for the team and their incredible attitude", continued the five-time Ballon d'Or victor.

"It's too early to talk about the final, let's take it one step at a time". We did very well and the team deserve congratulations.

Late goals from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin had earned Atletico a 2-0 first-leg advantage, but Ronaldo produced two trademark headers in either half and converted a late penalty to clinch a deserved 3-2 aggregate win.

Massimiliano Allegri's side, unbeaten in their domestic league this season, are now 18 points clear at the top of the table.

"Tonight we were lucid, there was the risk of having a hysterical match, as if everything had to be done in 10 minutes", he added.

Ronaldo did get the second goal three minutes after the break.

"It's a great night for the Juventus family and we responded on the field", Bonucci said.

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