Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo stole the headlines after bagging a hat-trick against Wolfsburg to book the side’s place in the Champions League semi-finals in dramatic fashion. Los Blancos had lost 2-0 to the German Bundesliga side in the first leg, but scored the required three goals at the Santiago Bernabeu to make it to the final four.
And not for the first time, Ronaldo was their saviour, scoring a typically eclectic treble to turn the tie on its head. The Portuguese international bagged his first goal with a close range finish, capitalising on some woeful defending from Wolfsburg. Dani Carvajal intercepted a sloppy pass in the middle of the park, and curled in a cross for Ronaldo that somehow evaded a number of Wolfsburg players.
Making no mistake from six yards out for the opener, Ronaldo then levelled the tie on the night just minutes later. Brilliantly heading home from a Toni Kroos corner, Ronaldo clawed Real Madrid from the mire on his own, and rallied the supporters to cheer them on to victory. The fans would have to wait until midway into the second-half for the winner, but it was certainly worth it.
In the 77th minute, Ronaldo perfectly rifled home a free-kick from distance to swing the game Real Madrid’s way and give them a lifeline in the Champions League. Despite their 2-0 defeat in the first leg, many expected Real to progress given their home advantage, and in truth they could have won more comfortably. Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos had opportunities to score, but the night belongs to Ronaldo.
The former Manchester United forward has been heavily criticised this season for his inconsistency and lack of goals in away games earlier in the campaign. But in typical Ronaldo fashion, he answered his doubters with a brilliant individual showing to claw Real Madrid from the mire once more, and it’s clear just how much the club would miss a player of his ability.
Ronaldo, 31, took his Champions League tally to 16 goals in 10 games, and he’s still got a two-legged semi-final to come. His manager Zinedine Zidane showered him in praise after the game too, saying: “It hasn’t been easy. I’m very proud of what happened tonight. I have a sensation of a job well done. Cristiano Ronaldo is demonstrating exactly what he is. The best player in the world, but he also needs the help of his teammates.”