Unstoppable Hat-trick Hero Ronaldo Hails “Tremendous” Real Madrid – “The Goals Came Naturally”
Cristiano Ronaldo hat trick saw Real Madrid earn a 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid in their Champions League semifinal first leg on Tuesday, with Zidane’s men putting one foot into the final in Cardiff after an incredible display at home.
Real Madrid started the stronger of the two sides and had Atletico on the back foot in the first half. Karim Benzema almost scrambled the ball home after just six minutes, before Cristiano Ronaldo headed Real ahead after 9 minutes.
The striker headed home a Dani Carvajal cross, although replays showed he had been clearly offside in the buildup to the goal.
Atletico were struggling as Real pressured them high up the field and Jan Oblak had to respond well to keep out a Rafael Varene header and to deny Isco.
Atletico saw more of the ball but failed to create chances against a solid Real defense and Diego Simeone reacted by bringing Nico Gaitan and Fernnado Torres on for Gameiro and Saul, while Zidane replaced Isco.
Ronaldo scored his second of the night after a pass from Karim Benzema with 17 minutes remaining. Felipe Luis tried to make a challenge, but the ball rebounded for Ronaldo, who gave Oblak no chance with a drilled shot from 18 yards.
Atletico knew they needed an away goal to give them a chance in the return leg, but their attempts to attack left them open on the break and Ronaldo was left with an easy chance to score the third after good work from Lucas Vazquez.
“We were tremendous and it fell to me to score the goals,” said Ronaldo. “We played well from start to finish, the goals came naturally.”
After the heart-breaking result for Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone promised to make a comeback in the second-leg and said: “We are Atletico Madrid, nothing is impossible.”
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane heaped praise on Cristiano Ronaldo
He said: “Cristiano is a goalscorer. He is unique. All the players were brilliant.”
“I am lucky to have these players. We try to play our football and enjoy ourselves. It works because we have great players with great attitudes.”
“We knew what we had to do from the off and we played the game we wanted to. Today Isco played as a number 10 and was fantastic. We then had width with (substitutes) (Lucas) Vazquez and (Marco) Asensio. In a defensive sense we were brilliant too.”
“We have won nothing yet and need to continue in the way we are going,” the Real Madrid coach said.
“We still have the second leg. We will have to work hard and fight for it. We will suffer at their place for sure.”
“There’s no such thing as an easy game and we need to play a perfect game at their place in order to go through.”