Beyond all the on-field aggression and outbursts, Cristiano Ronaldo has a soft spot.
The Portuguese star made a mascot’s day ahead of Real Madrid’s clash with Roma by giving a little girl a peck on the check during the anthem.
Karma seemed to stem from Ronaldo’s sweet gesture, the winger scoring a wonderful goal for Madrid in their 2-0 win.
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Watch the 31-year-old make a mascot’s dream come true below.
How cute. The girl’s beaming reaction shows just how delighted she was.
Madrid cruised to victory in the second half, Ronaldo opening the scoring in the 57th minute in sublime style. He fooled Alessandro Florenzi with a neat chop before curling an effort that deflected off the Roma defender and into the top corner.
Silencing the critics
The Madrid man walked out of a press conference on Tuesday after becoming irritated about questions on Barcelona’s attacking three and his goalscoring record away from home, but he silenced the critics with his 12th Champions League goal this season - five more than any other player - and 33rd goal in the competition away from the Bernabeu over the past six seasons.
Jese Rodriguez sealed the win for Zinedine Zidane’s team in the 86th minute with a fine strike.
Los Blancos are now firm favourites to progress to the quarter-finals for the sixth-straight season. They weren’t at their fluent best at the Stadio Olimpico but they were clinical, unlike their Italian opponents.
Mocked at Manchester United
It was good to see Ronaldo turn his attentions back to football after a week in which he made headlines for his off-field actions.
During Tuesday’s press conference, he revealed that he rarely spoke to Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes during his time in England, saying: “When I was at Manchester United, winning the Champions League, with some players such as Giggs, Ferdinand and Scholes, our discussions were limited to ‘Good morning’ and ‘Good night’.
Ferdinand responded by saying United players mocked Ronaldo for wearing tight jeans.
Before Wednesday’s game, Ronaldo had gone four away games without finding the net and a nerve was touched when a reporter asked the former Ballon d’Or winner about his goal drought.
He said: “Can you name one player who has scored more away from home than me since I’ve been in Spain? No, you can’t, there aren’t any. Bye everyone.”
His strike against Roma was his 33rd of the season and he trails only Luis Suarez in the race to be crowned La Liga’s top goalscorer.
Suarez, who scored a hat-trick in Barcelona’s last game thanks to a mischievous pass-penalty, has scored 24 league goals, three more than Ronaldo.
Scoring goals and making people - like young mascots - happy. That’s all Ronaldo should focus on.