It is no secret that over the years, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has established himself as arguably the greatest ever in the history of Europe’s premier footballing competition, the UEFA Champions League (UCL). Ronaldo has netted a total of 140 goals in the competition throughout his career in 181 appearances. Statistically speaking, there is no one who comes even close to the Manchester United striker. The second-placed Lionel Messi falls short by 15 goals as of yet. Although the Portuguese has always been confident of scoring against any opponent, he does seem to have a penchant for being at his destructive best against Spanish side Atletico Madrid. Fortunately for him and Manchester United, that is the club he will face in the round of 16 of the competition on Thursday. Here is a look at Ronaldo’s best performances against Atletico in the Champions League
A Champions League final and Cristiano Ronaldo, possibly one of the best pairings the world of football has ever witnessed. For a man who stays on the top of his game through every single match in the competition, a final is a place where he simply let’s out the beast. That is how Atletico discovered their bogey player in 2014, the one man who would come back to haunt them over and over. The Portuguese was a part of Real Madrid at the time and he delivered a masterful performance and scored the final goal in a 4-1 drubbing that saw Los Blancos lift the crown.
Perhaps one of Ronaldo’s best performances in the Champions League came during this match. The stage was set for a feisty all-Spanish affair spread over two legs for a place in the final. Atletico were chomping at the bit to get some sweet revenge on their local rivals for ruining their European ambitions for three seasons straight. Unfortunately, the Portuguese had something to say about that. Ronaldo struck a hatrick in the first leg of the tie which saw Real win the fixture 3-0, and eventually, the tie. The Bernabeu was once again left awe-struck as their number 7 weaved his magic and proved yet again why he belongs in the Pantheon of footballing greats.
When Atletico Madrid won the first leg of their round of 16 tie 2-0 against Juventus in 2019, many believed the Spanish side to breeze through to the quarter-final and finally manage to knock Ronaldo out of the Champions League. Manager Diego Simeone even did a rather distasteful celebration at the time, just to rub salt into their opponents’ wounds. Little did the Atletico fans imagine that Ronaldo would deliver another stunning performance to take Juventus to the next round. The Portuguese scored a hatrick again as the then Italian champions recorded a 3-0 win and advanced 3-2 on aggregate.