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Tuesday / May 14.

‘Juve can go all the way,’ says Ronaldo

LONDON: Cristiano Ronaldo sent a message to Real Madrid fans and an ominous warning to the rest of Europe after his brilliant hat-trick sent Juventus storming into the Champions League quarterfinals.
The Portuguese star was at his brilliant best as the Turin giants came back from a 2-0 first-leg defeat at Atletico Madrid to win at home 3-0 and go through to the last eight.
It was always going to take something special to beat the Spanish side — they had never lost when up 2-0 from the first leg, and the side is one of, if not the most defensively disciplined in Europe. With Diego Simeone at the helm, it was, everyone assumed, mission impossible for Juve.
But those predictions reckoned without another jaw-dropping Ronaldo display. The Champions League has been his favorite stage throughout his stunning career, and he scored his eighth hat-trick in the competition to sink Atletico hearts.
No sooner had he once again done the “impossible” than he told their last-eight rivals that more was to come.
“This was why Juventus brought me here, to help do things that they have never done before, to help them in games like this. I do my job and I’m very happy. It was a magical evening,” the 34-year-old said. “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.”
The first-leg had been a tough one for Ronaldo. The former Real Madrid star was back in the Spanish capital but at the home of Real’s city rivals. The fans let him know it and the Portuguese was not at his best. But having turned the tie around three weeks later, he was able to get his own back.
“I send a hug to all Real Madrid fans,” he said with a wink after his masterclass.
When a player usually says something along the lines of “that’s why they bought me,” there is an understandable temptation to dismiss a statement as being egotistical nonsense. But with Ronaldo, never one to shy away from reminding you how good he is, there is a huge sense that he was spot on.
Despite dominating Serie A, Juve are without a Champions League win since 1996, and an appearance in the final since 2015. Desperate for European glory, they spent over €100 million ($113 million) on the then-33-year-old, for some too much on a player that age. Now it is looking like good business; he was, as he said, brought for nights like these.
For defeated coach Simeone, there was no bitterness as he claimed there is no better player than the Portuguese hero, saying: “Cristiano Ronaldo is the best in the world. He can put in these performances on big nights.”

via AN