Cristiano Ronaldo extended his Champions League record in dramatic circumstances in the second leg of Real Madrid’s quarter-final victory over Juventus on Wednesday 11 April 2018.
The defending champions had led 3-0 from the first leg in Turin but found the score reversed on them at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium after only 60 minutes in the second leg.
With extra-time looming, Zinedine Zidane’s side won a penalty in stoppage time much to the frustration of the Italian Serie A leaders, and in particular, their goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon.
The footballing legend was shown the red card for a couple of barges into the referee in what was his final-ever match in the Champions League as he is set for an end of season retirement.
Michael Oliver’s award of a penalty caused a melee at the end of the game which required Cristiano Ronaldo to wait a couple of minutes to take his penalty. The 33-year-old showed no nerves as he powered the ball past substitute goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to book Real Madrid’s place in this season’s semi-finals.
Real Madrid have been drawn up against runaway German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in the final four and their Champions league odds are actually 2/1 joint-favourites with Liverpool.
Should the Spanish team live up to their odds and win the 2018 Champions League it would be the fourth time in the competition’s history that a team have won the tournament for three consecutive seasons and the first since the mid-1970s.
Real Madrid achieved this feat by winning the first five editions of the tournament between 1956-60 before it was next accomplished by Ajax between 1971-73 and then Bayern Munich immediately after; 1974-76.
Ronaldo’s winner against Juventus earlier this month means he has now scored in a record 11 consecutive Champions League matches, including all 10 this season.
The Portuguese superstar’s run began in last season’s final when he scored both the opener and the third as they ran out 4-1 winners over Juventus to win the competition for an 11th time.
With a maximum of three games left for each of the remaining four participants it’s virtually impossible that Cristiano Ronaldo won’t win this season’s Champions League Golden Boot. In his 10 matches he has amassed a staggering 15 goals. Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are next on the list, with eight each.
Real Madrid weren’t handed the easiest of group stages either as they were joined by England’s Tottenham Hotspur and Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, as well as APOEL FC from Cyprus.
Cristiano Ronaldo himself actually had a very slow start to the Spanish domestic season, much like Real Madrid, scoring only four goals in his first 14 matches of the 2017-18 campaign which saw him suspended for the first four.
However, he was able to able to get by in Europe – first scoring a brace in a 3-0 home win against APOEL FC and then two again in a 3-1 win at Borussia Dortmund.
Despite drawing 1-1 at home to Tottenham Hotspur and then losing 3-1 at Wembley Stadium, Ronaldo scored Real Madrid’s goals in each game. His streak continued with another brace against APOEL FC, this time in a 6-0 thrashing, and completed the group stage with a goal in the 3-2 win over eliminated Borussia Dortmund.
Many were expecting Paris Saint-Germain to eliminate Real Madrid in the second round but Ronaldo had other ideas. Despite the runaway French Ligue 1 leaders scoring first, the former-Manchester United star equalised from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.
Ronaldo added a second off his knee in the 83rd minute before teammate Marcelo gave his side a 3-1 lead to take to Paris.
In that second leg Ronaldo opened the scoring just before half-time as his team won 2-1 on the night and safely through 5-2 on aggregate.
Few also expected Real Madrid to thrash Juventus 3-0 in their own stadium earlier this month but they did so with help of a Ronaldo brace which included one of the greatest goal of all-time; a scissor kick that made it 2-0.
The question on many people’s minds is whether Cristiano Ronaldo will be able to continue his scoring streak when Real Madrid take on the mighty Bayern Munich in the semi-finals.
Jupp Heynckes’ side have already been confirmed champions of Germany and look like capable Champions League winners themselves. In fact, the last time Heynckes was manager, he won the treble with Bayern Munich back in 2013, which included beating Borussia Dortmund in the final.
If anyone can pull it off then Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the few players in the world who has the ability and eye for goal to keep this incredible streak going. The first leg is at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Wednesday 25 April.