Cristiano Ronaldo is called Mr. Champions League for a reason.
You just knew that when Manchester United clawed themselves back from 2-0 down against Atalanta on Wednesday that the stars would align for the Portuguese superstar to score the winner.
However, when you consider just how poorly the Red Devils played during the opening 45 minutes, even the craziest fantasy of Ronaldo popping up to score a winner felt a million miles away.
Man Utd 3-2 Atalanta
Mario Pašalić had nipped into United’s penalty area to fire Atalanta into an early lead, before Merih Demiral heaped further misery on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by elevating the half-time score to 0-2.
But alas, United weren’t simply going to lie on their backs and taking a beating because Bruno Fernandes’ inspired pass for Marcus Rashford allowed the hosts to get back into the game.
And with hope restored at 2-1, Harry Maguire atoned for the errors of the Leicester City defeat to level the scores with a fine finish as Fernandes bagged himself yet another assist.
Man United vs Atalanta Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
Ronaldo scores another winner
At that point, the stage was set for Ronaldo to do what he does best with the 36-year-old repeating the magic of the Villarreal triumph to score yet another Champions League winner for United.
Meeting Luke Shaw’s cross into the penalty area like a wrecking ball, Ronaldo planted his header past Juan Musso to spark wild scenes of celebration across the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
However, United still had 10 minutes to survive until the win was confirmed and you got the feeling that every man, woman and child in the stadium were desperately keeping their fingers crossed.
Ronaldo’s incredible FT reaction
As such, once the referee blew the final whistle on a 3-2 victory, there was no disguising the unbridled joy that Ronaldo felt in the knowledge that he had pulled three points out of the fire.
In fact, the television cameras perfectly picked out Ronaldo’s immediate reaction with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner sinking to his knees and showing raw emotion with his United teammates.
Having been seen walking off the Old Trafford pitch in pure frustration just a few weeks ago, you could see exactly what the comeback meant to Ronaldo, so be sure to check out his reaction below:
Just look how much it means to him. Incredible stuff.
Pure passion from Ronaldo
For all the dialogue about Ronaldo’s pressing and work rate for the Red Devils, you can never accuse the Real Madrid legend of giving up hope or not chasing the most dramatic of comebacks.
Just because he isn’t sprinting around the pitch like a headless chicken, it doesn’t mean that he’s not waiting in the wings to pick the perfect moment to strike and find the net.
It doesn’t work every time, of course it doesn’t, but what makes Ronaldo so special is that it works far, far more often when he’s on the pitch because frankly, the Champions League belongs to him.