On a night when all eyes were on him to deliver, Cristiano Ronaldo was the man of the night as he scored all three goals to earn a dominate Juventus side the 3-0 result needed to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 match and send Atletico Madrid crashing out of the competition. And in doing so, the 34-year-old equalled an incredible record in the competition.
Ronaldo came into the clash at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday night with just one goal scored in this season’s Champions League, but by the end of the night, his record read four goals scored this season in the competition.
Two headers in the 26th and 48th minute along with an 86th minute penalty saw Ronaldo score a monumental hat-trick to send Juve into the quarter-final and also make him one of just two footballers ever to achieve a great feat. This is because Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Atletico Madrid was his eighth in the Champions League, a record he shares with none other than Barcelona icon, Lionel Messi.
The Argetine himself would be hoping to put up a similarly great performance as Ronaldo has done for Juve, when Barca take on Olympique Lyon at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night. Messi and Barca head into that match with the scores level at 0-0 from the first leg in France.
Meanwhile, at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City made light work of their second leg against Schalke 04 as Pep Guardiola’s side ruthlessly hammered their German visitors 7-0 to complete a 10-2 aggregate whitewash.
Prolific Argetine striker Sergio Aguero scored two goals in three minutes to set the ball rolling after 35 minutes of waiting for the opener, while Leroy Sane was able to get a third just before half time to effectively end the tie as a contest against his former club.
The second half saw Man. City maintain their dominance, with Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, as well as substitutes Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus also getting on the score sheet to seal a commanding performance from the Premier League leaders who joined fellow English sides, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, into the last eight of the competition.
Will Messi be able to score his ninth hat-trick in the Champions League and get back ahead of his great rival Ronaldo when Barcelona take on Lyon on Wednesday night? Share your predictions in the comments section.