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.
Real Madrid 3 Atletico Madrid 0 player ratings
Real Madrid 3 Atletico Madrid 0 player ratings
1/22 Keylor Navas – 7 out of 10
Rarely called into action, but did well when he was. Brilliantly quick off his line to deny Gameiro for Atleti’s first real chance.
2/22 Dani Carvajal – 6 out of 10
Contributed to Madrid’s dominant start down the flanks but had his evening cut short by an injury before half-time.
3/22 Sergio Ramos – 6 out of 10
Lucky to escape punishment for an early elbow on Hernandez.
4/22 Raphael Varane – 7 out of 10
Ended the night in one piece, which is always a plus, and had little else to deal with from Atletico’s frontline.
5/22 Marcelo – 8 out of 10
Always a threat on the left flank, made Hernandez’s first half-hour a miserable one with constant overlaps.
6/22 Casemiro – 7 out of 10
Needed to show discipline in the heart of Madrid’s midfield and did so.
7/22 Luka Modric – 8 out of 10
Alongside Kroos, ran the midfield battle. Niguez and Gabi had little in response to either of them. Other than that, went close with delightful half-volley near the end.
8/22 Toni Kroos – 8 out of 10
Found himself with enough time and space to execute his passing game and control the flow of proceedings in midfield.
9/22 Isco – 8 out of 10
Always had his head up, always driving forward looking to build on his side’s dominance. Substituted, though, as he picked up a yellow and was at risk of another.
10/22 Cristiano Ronaldo – 9 out of 10
The man for the big occasion once again. Only he was ever going to reach the header for the first, only he could be relied upon to finish the second so emphatically, only he was ever going to score a hat-trick tonight. Superb.
11/22 Karim Benzema – 8 out of 10
Had several chances to double Madrid’s lead, going closest with a spectacular acrobatic effort. Eventually set up the second, showing brilliant strength against Godin.
12/22 Jan Oblak – 7 out of 10
Denied Madrid with several eye-catching stops but could perhaps have done better to get in front of Ronaldo’s header.
13/22 Lucas Hernandez – 4 out of 10
Stepping in for Juanfran, but overwhelmed by Madrid’s wing play at times, particularly during the first-half onslaught.
14/22 Stefan Savic – 5 out of 10
Lost the aerial battle with Ronaldo for the opener. Could have prevented the effort if he had been more alert for the second-time cross.
15/22 Diego Godin – 4 out of 10
Went close to equalising when Griezmann’s delicate free-kick slipped him in but failed to be as ruthless in front of goal as he was in the 2014 final. Shoved off too easily in the build-up to Madrid’s second.
16/22 Filipe Luis – 6 out of 10
Better than his fellow Atleti defenders, but still powerless to prevent the numerous forays forward that Madrid enjoyed in the first half.
17/22 Koke – 5 out of 10
Not his fault he’s not an out-and-out winger in a game when his team needed width, but ineffectual when attempting to get forward.
18/22 Gabi – 7 out of 10
Came to the aid of his ailing defence on several occasions with the type of midfield legwork we have come to know him for, but struggled to win the battle in his own part of the pitch.
19/22 Saul Niguez – 5 out of 10
One of several Atletico creative outlets who failed to turn up. A night to forget, cut short by his substitution before the hour mark.
20/22 Yannick Carrasco – 6 out of 10
Only threatened Madrid’s backline in glimpses and struggled to find his rhythm, but still a surprising candidate to be replaced when the visitors were in need of a goal.
21/22 Antoine Griezmann – 5 out of 10
Despite a few neat passes to set in his team-mates, not a performance worthy of a £100million player. Too quiet when his side needed him most.
22/22 Kevin Gameiro – 4 out of 10
Should’ve been more decisive when played through for Atleti’s first chance. Paid the price for his wastefulness when replaced by Fernando Torres.
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.Reuse content