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The Portuguese star put in a world class performance scoring a hat trick to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Atletico Madrid, sending Juventus into the Champions League last eight.

cristiano ronaldo

This was Ronaldo’s 124th goal in the Champions League and eighth hat-trick in the competition.

“It was meant to be a special night and it was, not just for my goals but for the attitude we showed,” the 34-year-old said.

“That is the sort of mentality you need to win the Champions League. This was why Juventus brought me here – to help do things that they have never done before.”

Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri set up his team to play a high line and put pressure on their Spanish opponents from the first whistle, with the onus on full-backs Leonardo Spinazzola and Joao Cancelo to advance forward as often as possible.

The home side thought that tactic had paid off early when captain Giorgio Chiellini poked home in the fourth minute. However, following a VAR review it was declared that Ronaldo had fouled Jan Oblak in the build-up.

There was no need to refer to VAR when Juve next had the ball in the net through Ronaldo’s first header past the Slovenian keeper.

It was Cancelo who supplied the cross on this occasion. Oblak appeared to claw his effort off the line before goal-line technology alerted referee Bjorn Kuipers that the goal was good by a matter of inches.

Former Fiorentina player Bernardeschi was pushed inside the area by his tracker Angel Correa after making a 50-yard run – the Juve crowd held their breath for a second before the Dutch official pointed to the spot.

Which was left for Ronaldo to crown a memorable display by himself and his team by firing his spotkick to the right of Oblak.

Allegri praised his side’s measured approach to the task.

“The players have shown great maturity,” he said.

Morata also had his side’s best effort when he headed over from six yards.

Manager Simeone said: “I don’t think it was our worst performance, nor did I see a lack of character.They simply played better and we have to congratulate them.”

Ronaldo’s arrival had seemingly made Juve one of the favourites in the Champions League, which the Serie A champions last won in 1996.

By Olukayode Oniwinde

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