Cristiano Ronaldo affirmed Juventus brought him to the club “to help do things they have never done before” after his hat-trick heroics sent them to the Champions League last eight.
Ronaldo’s hat-trick brought Juventus back from a 2-0 aggregate deficit against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night in Turin, going through 3-2 on aggregate.
Five-time Champions League winner Ronaldo has scored eight hat-tricks in the competition, the joint-most in the competition alongside Lionel Messi, and the Portuguese forward suggested his big-game impact is why Juventus brought him to the club from Real Madrid in the summer, with the Italians looking for a first European Cup crown since 1996.
“This was why Juventus brought me here, to help do things that they have never done before,” said Ronaldo, now 34. “This is the mentality you need to win in the Champions League.
“I just do my work and I’m very happy tonight, it was a magical night. Atletico are always difficult to face, but we are also strong and we proved it.
“We wanted a special night and it was just that – not only for my goals but for the entire team. This is the right mentality to play in the Champions League, so we must be proud.”
After a 2-0 first-leg defeat, many had written Juventus off again in the competition, and defender Leonardo Bonucci said he felt “sorry” for those who were prepared to celebrate another Juventus exit in the Champions League.
“It is a great night for all the Juve people. Many were ready to celebrate our defeat, I’m sorry for them,” he said. “Juve always responds on the pitch. We played with the right spirit and our fans were the 12th man tonight.”
Juventus will discover their last eight opponents during Friday’s draw in Nyon.
Ronaldo joined Juventus from Real Madrid last summer in a £99.2m deal, becoming one of the most expensive players of all time in the process.
His remit was, in large part, to help the Turin club win the Champions League.
Ronaldo, who has now scored 18 goals in his past 14 Champions League knockout appearances and has been directly involved in 76 goals in 77 knockout matches (62 goals, 14 assists).
Rio Ferdinand, a team-mate of Ronaldo’s during their time together at Manchester United, told BT Sport: “Cristiano is a living football god and it is ridiculous what he is doing.
“In the Champions League, he has got every record you can imagine. And it was also against an Atletico team that is renowned for having a great defence.”
His latest extraordinary performance means that:
- Ronaldo has now scored 124 goals in Europe’s elite club competition – that’s 18 clear of second-placed Lionel Messi on the list of leading scorers. It’s also more than three-time finalists Atletico Madrid’s entire total.
- Ronaldo has scored eight Champions League hat-tricks, the joint-most in the competition alongside Messi.
- Ronaldo remains in contention to add to his five Champions League titles – only Real Madrid legend Francisco Gento, with six, has won more European Cups.
- It is almost four years since a team featuring Ronaldo was knocked out of the Champions League and he could still win the competition for a fourth consecutive season.
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