Cristiano Ronaldo confronts referee Martin Atkinson to claim goal against Atletico isn't deemed an offside mistake

After yelling 'Atkinson' in the tunnel, Ronaldo protests that he did not interfere in play before getting back onside to ensure the reputation of his goal is not tarnished

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The Independent Football

Cristiano Ronaldo took his incredible goalscoring tally with Real Madrid to 399 on Tuesday night as his virtuoso hat-trick downed city rivals Atletico and put the reigning European Champions on the brink of a third final appearance in the space of four years courtesy of a 3-0 first-leg victory.

With the former Manchester United forward now just one goal shy of the 400 landmark (though Real claim he has already reached this target due to a dubious goal that was scored officially by Pepe in 2010) you would think that he would not care for one second whether his opener could be doubted given he was in an offside position.

As Sergio Ramos delivered a high cross from the right of the Atletico box, Ronaldo was clearly a metre offside, before running back to put himself into an onside position as Atletico cleared the danger, or so they thought.

Real midfielder Casemiro mis-hit the rebound towards goal, and as the ball looped up, it allowed Ronaldo to head the ball almost through the Atletico goalkeeper, Jan Oblak, and into the net to open the scoring. Ronaldo celebrated passionately, but once it was made clear at half-time that critics were suggesting he should have been flagged offside, Ronaldo took matters into his own hands to ensure his goal was not tarnished in any way.

As the two sides returned to the Santiago Bernabeu pitch for the second half, Ronaldo waited for the referee, Martin Atkinson, before pleading his case that he was not interfering in play.

“Atkinson!” Ronaldo can be heard to shout in a video captured by a tunnel camera for Antenna 3. “Did you see?”

Atkinson replies: “At first you were [offside], but then you didn’t…”

Ronaldo quickly interrupts Atkinson to add “but I didn’t interfere”, before the referee agrees with him and the pair head out for the second half.

The video is a clear demonstration of Ronaldo’s incredible desire to ensure that nothing is taken away from him, be it a goal ruled out for offside or one that viewers believe should have been ruled out. Given his remarkable goalscoring record in Madrid, it is no wonder why he will go down as one of the greats, but it is intriguing insights like this one that offer a glimpse of the mentality of one of football’s most prolific goalscorers.