Real Madrid have one foot in the Champions League final after their 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night.
It was billed as a battle of irresistible force versus immoveable object but, while Real were irresistible, Atleti certainly weren’t immoveable.
Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a stunning hat-trick - the 47th of his career - as Los Blancos cruised to a 3-0 win over their close rivals.
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Next week’s return leg at the Vicente Calderon was set to be a highly charged affair, given it will be the last time Atleti’s home ground stages a Champions League match, but even the most ardent Atletico Madrid fan will fail to see much cause for optimism.
Zinedine Zidane was full of praise for Ronaldo after the Portuguese star scored his second hat-trick in consecutive Champions League matches.
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“He is unique,” Madrid’s manager said, via the Daily Mail. “He knows that the games mount up over the season and over the years and that he has to rest from time to time, but I don’t think that is the only reason. He scores goals.”
Indeed. The current Ballon d’Or holder has now scored 103 goals in Europe’s elite club competition, with 10 coming this season.
Zidane: Our strength is our patience
While Ronaldo hogged the headlines, Zidane was keen to ensure that his teammates’ efforts were recognised, too.
“I don’t know if it was our best game but it was a very good performance,” the Frenchman added. “Our strength is our patience because we know we have so many players who can make a difference.”
Modric and Kroos ran the show
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos were superb at the heart of midfield, linking defence to attack with ease. Just take a look at Kroos’ stats for an idea of how productive he was.
Modric owned Griezmann
Modric enjoyed himself, too. The Croatian is a joy to watch when he’s at his flowing best, and Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann found out just how silky smooth he can be.
In the second half, Modric left Griezmann with egg on his face with a cheeky nutmeg. Check it out below.
It happens to the best of us, Antoine.
Check out the reaction on Twitter.
Do Atleti have any chance of turning the tie around? Let us know in the comments section below!
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