When UEFA had to apologize and repeat the draw for the Champions League round of 16, many UEFA fans Atletico Madrid they breathed a sigh of relief. In the bolillero the fearsome Bayern Munich had appeared as a rival. However, chance did not bring him much fortune on the second opportunity either because, although the Man Utda somewhat more accessible team, the big problem is that one of their forwards is Cristiano Ronaldoperhaps the player most hated by the “colchonera” fans.
The Portuguese, who has just turned 37, has already scored nothing less than 25 goals against Atletico in the 35 games he played in all competitions (31 with Real Madrid and 4 with Juventus). 7 of those goals were made in the ten games he faced the rojiblancos for the Champions League, and that included a penalty in the 2014 final in Lisbon, when Sergio Ramos got the legendary equalizer in the 93rd minute that forced extra time in which the Whites won 4-1 and Cristiano Ronaldo scored the last, from 12 steps. He was also in charge of executing the last penalty kick of the definition after having tied in the Madrid derby 1-1 in the 2016 Champions League final at the Giuseppe Meazza, when Real Madrid won 5-3.
The relationship between Cristiano Ronaldo and the Atlético Madrid fans grew in rivalry to the extent that the Portuguese not only scored decisive goals, but also decided to respond to the stands with pompous gestures, such as when already playing for Juventus, in 2019, he waved his hand showing all five fingers in the first leg of the round of 16 at the Wanda Metropolitano stadiumwhen the people of Madrid beat the Turinese 2-0 with goals from the two central Uruguayan markers Josema Giménez and Diego Godín.
That time, the fans of Atlético Madrid released all kinds of offensive songs. “He is a defaulter, Cristiano is a defaulter”, or “He pays the Treasury, Cristiano pays the Treasury” (to the tune of “Guantanamera”), and in reference to the notorious case of tax evasion by the Portuguese in Spain. When the first goal of the locals came, behind the lime line, a proud Diego Simeone made the pompous gesture of grabbing his testicles in a game in which it seemed that the Italian goal was bewitched: the Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny managed to slap a shot by Antoine Griezmann with goal destiny and the ball hit the crossbar before leaving, Álvaro Morata’s goal was annulled through VAR, Diego Costa lost an incredible heads-up.
When the game ended with the locals winning 2-0, euphoria was unleashed in the Wanda, who sang “Where are you CR7, CR7 where are you” – alluding to his classic gesture in celebrating goals saying “I I’m here”-, and Cristiano appeared in the mixed zone passing by the Spanish journalists telling them “I have five Champions, Atlético, zero” and when they asked him if the series was defined, he said “we’ll see”.
Koke, Atlético’s midfielder and now team captain, responded ironically: “It’s true that he has five Champions Leagues and we congratulate him on that. We will go to Turin with humility”. Harder was the rojiblanco president, Enrique Cerezo, who told Italian radio in the days before the rematch that “for me, Cristiano does not have five Champions but three, because he did not win the two against us.”
In the second leg in Turin, with a great atmosphere in the stands, Cristiano Ronaldo appeared with everything, with a new hat-trick, the fourth he converted against Atlético in his career. The third of his goals was a penalty and the 3-0 served to eliminate Atlético from the Champions League. In the celebrations, inside the field of play, the striker made the provocative gesture of lowering both arms by the sides of his body, raising the pelvis.
In addition to having won two Champions League finals against Atlético with Real Madrid (one, directed by Carlo Ancelotti and the other, by Zinedine Zidane), in 2017 he eliminated him in the semis, with another triplet in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. Then, the whites would win their second consecutive title (they would also repeat in 2018) by beating Juventus in the final in Cardiff. In the “mattress” goal was the Slovenian Jan Oblak, the same as today, so the duel against Manchester United will have the same rivals.
Of the 25 goals that Cristiano Ronaldo scored against Atlético de Madrid, 12 correspond to the League (among them, a hat-trick in the last derby played at the old Vicente Calderón stadium before its demolition), 7 to the Champions League and 6 to the Copa del Rey.
This game against Atlético could precisely mark a recovery for Cristiano Ronaldo, questioned about his latest performances and facing his coach, the German Ralf Rangnick, in the competition he likes the most and in which he is the all-time top scorer, with 140 in 181 games, in addition to having scored six goals in five games in the group stage.
If the Portuguese is facing Atlético and had his exchanges with messages of all kinds to the Argentine coach Diego Simeone, the mutual respect for the trajectories is unquestionable. CR7 recognizes that the “Cholo”. Simeone “is one of the best coaches in the world” What’s more, after the World Cup in Russia a conversation was leaked between Simeone and Burgos in which Cholo said that he would hire CR7 before Messi.
“Cristiano Ronaldo –says the Argentinian- is a champion, a number one. You take Cristiano alone to a war and he wins it ”. For the young “colchonero” striker Joao Félix, Cristiano Ronaldo is his idol and having shared the Portuguese national team with him “is a dream come true” and the day he was presented as a new rojiblanco player he defined him as “the best in the world and such once, of all time”.
For his part, the Argentine Ángel Correa, who is going through a very good moment in Simeone’s team, warned about facing Cristiano Ronaldo again for the Champions League. “We know the kind of player he is. He has already done us a lot of damage in other games in which we have faced him. We have to pay attention to what he does but we must not forget Manchester United as a team because, in the end, we are facing the English club, not just CR7″.
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