Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: I scored the goals but the entire team was tremendous, says Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo was known for his deadly pace and step overs that used to terrorize full-backs. He has played as a winger in his time at Manchester United and for most of it at Real Madrid. But now, with time, age has caught on and Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has had to manage the number of matches Ronaldo played this season. He has also overseen Ronaldo’s transformation from being the flying winger of old to the deadly center-forward he is now.

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The Portuguese captain, who also scored a hat-trick in the quarter-final against Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu, and five goals across that tie, is revelling in the central striker’s role he has adopted this season.

He was picked alongside Karim Benzema up front in Tuesday’s first-leg clash and produced a performance that marked him out as arguably the world’s best number nine, despite being a recent convert to the position. Critics have pointed out that 32-year-old Ronaldo has lost some of his pace and dribbling ability but the Portuguese showed against Atletico that he remains one of the most deadly strikers of the ball from inside the box.

Ronaldo is one short now of reaching 400 goals for Real Madrid. He has racked up that tally in a mind-numbing 389 matches.

“I am very happy for the goals and for reaching 400 goals with Real Madrid,” said Ronaldo, including the disputed effort.

“We have to congratulate the whole team, we were tremendous. It fell to me to score the goals. We played well from start to finish and the goals came naturally.”

Zidane’s policy of rotating Ronaldo seems to have paid dividends with Ronaldo netting eight times in his last three Champions League games and overtaking Alfredo di Stefano as the all-time top scorer in European Cup semi-finals with 13.

“He has the instinct for goals, he’s unique,” said Zidane. “Sometimes he needs to rest and he knows that because he’s intelligent.”

Barring a miracle comeback by Atletico in the second leg Ronaldo will spearhead his team in the final in Cardiff on June 3, with the Portuguese looking in perfect shape to add a fourth Champions League medal to his collection.

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