TURIN, Italy (Reuters) – Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a hat-trick against his favourite opponents Atletico Madrid as the Italians overturned a two-goal first-leg deficit to win 3-0 and reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday. Ronaldo blasted home the decisive goal from a penalty with four minutes left to seal a 3-2 overall triumph having made the breakthrough in the 27th minute and levelled the aggregate score three minutes after halftime with another towering header.
It was his eighth hat-trick in the Champions League, pulling him level with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, and took the Portugal international’s tally in his favourite club competition, where he is the all-time leading scorer, to 124.
The former Real Madrid player, aiming to win the Champions League for the sixth time with his third different club, having also lifted the trophy with Manchester United, took his tally against Atletico to 25 goals in 33 matches in all competitions.
“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.”
Shell-shocked Atletico failed to muster a shot on target as they paid the price for an ultra-cautious approach by defensive-minded coach Diego Simeone in the last-16 second leg tie.
“Simply an epic match,” said Juve’s Giorgio Chiellini. “The best way to celebrate my 500th appearance for the club.”