A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick sends Juventus through to the quarter-finals, and Manchester City joins them after annihilating FC Schalke 04.
When Cristiano Ronaldo enters the gift shop next to the entrances to “Heaven’ or ‘Hell’ he will pass from this world safe in the knowledge that he created a Champions League legacy.
The five-time Champions League winner has spread across the brand like ivy, molesting the competition during his time at Manchester United, Real Madrid and now, Juventus.
With Juventus winning Serie A while sucking its thumb in recent years, the Old Lady brought Ronaldo into the fold for €100m to win the Champions League. But after only scoring a single goal, and falling to a 2-0 away defeat in the first leg against Atlético Madrid, the return on investment seemed highly unlikely.
It’s against such odds, that legacy lacers lap it up, and lap it up Ronaldo did.
The 34-year-old scored his 122nd, 123rd and 124th Champions League goal, equalling Lionel Messi’s record eighth tournament hat-trick in an inspirational display in front of his home crowd.
Juventus was at it from the start, and Massimiliano Allegri thought his team had taken the lead within five minutes after Giorgio Chiellini poked the ball home from close range after a goalmouth scramble only for the officials to disallow it due to a foul on Jan Oblak by Ronaldo.
When the opener did come, there was no disputing it.
With 27-minutes on the clock, the superb Federico Bernardeschi danced a ditty on the left side of the pitch before putting in a cross to the far post that Ronaldo met with the power you have come to expect from the man.
Bernardeschi came close with a couple of Hollywood efforts, and Álvaro Morato missed a golden opportunity to equalise when he headed over from six yards in first-half injury time allowing Juventus to go into the break knowing that two more goals would suffice.
The first of those goals arrived within five minutes of the restart. João Cancelo put in a cross from the right, and Ronaldo leapt higher than anyone to nut the ball towards goal. It looked like Jan Oblak had saved it, but goal-line technology showed the whole of the ball had cleared the line, and Juventus needed one more to make a comeback complete.
Mario Mandžukić headed wide from close range, and Moise Kean missed the opportunity to go down in Juventus folklore when the 18-year-old skewed his shot wide when clean through in the 82nd minute. Then with four minutes of regular time remaining, Bernadeschi picked up the ball on the halfway line, drove into the heart of the Madrid penalty area, and Angel Correa hacked him down. Ronaldo put the ball on the spot and slammed home the winner in the way that only he can.
Madrid will not play in front of their home crowd on June 1.
Juventus still might.
In the night’s other tie, Manchester City destroyed FC Schalke 04 thanks to goals from Sergio Agüero (2), Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus in a 7-0 win. The result means both Manchester clubs will be in Friday’s draw for the Last Eight, after beating the Germans 10-2 on aggregate.
Juventus 3 v 0 Atlético Madrid (3-2 Agg)
Man City 7 v 0 FC Schalke 04 (10-2 Agg)
Champions League Winner Odds
Man City 9/4
Man Utd 8/1