After enduring his worst start to a La Liga season, it’s easy to understand why so many people felt Real Madrid were taking a huge gamble by handing Cristiano Ronaldo a lucrative new five-year contract earlier this month.
But the Portuguese superstar proved he’s still capable of producing big performances against the biggest teams on Saturday night.
Atletico Madrid boast arguably the best defence in Europe but Ronaldo, in the final Madrid derby at the Vicente Calderon, netted his 39th hat-trick for Los Blancos.
The 31-year-old’s first goal of the night came midway through the opening half and was a little on the fortunate side. His deflected free-kick wrong-footed Jan Oblak and ended up in the back of the net.
Ronaldo netted his second goal of the night from the penalty spot in the 71st minute and completed his hat-trick six minutes later with a close-range tap-in following some excellent wing play from Gareth Bale.
Ronaldo should have had four goals against Atleti
However, Ronaldo felt he should have ended the night with four goals, rather than three.
His 11th minute header produced a fantastic reaction save on the line from Oblak, but Ronaldo was convinced it had gone in.
Unlike in the Premier League, goal-line technology is not currently used in La Liga, so the decision was in the hands of the referee and his assistants.
The goal wasn’t given - although still images have emerged, per 101 Great Goals, which prove the ball did, in fact, cross the line.
It’s a little hard to tell from this image, although the ball does appear to have crossed the line.
Okay, that looks over…
That’s definitely a goal…
So, there you have it. Ronaldo was robbed of a goal on his last ever appearance at the Calderon, which is a bit of a shame.
Still, it shouldn’t affect his chances of winning the 2016 Ballon d’Or.
"I've never had any doubts that Cristiano is the best,” Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane was quoted as saying by Sky Sports after the match. “Tonight ends that debate, the Ballon d'Or will be for him.”
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