It’s no secret that over the past few years, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has established himself as arguably the greatest player of all time in the history of Europe’s premier football competition, the UEFA Champions League (UCL). Ronaldo has scored a total of 140 goals in the competition in 181 appearances throughout his career. Speaking of statistics, there is no one who even comes close to the Manchester United striker. Second-placed Lionel Messi is still 15 goals behind. Although the Portuguese has always been confident of scoring goals against any opponent, he seems to have a penchant for his disastrous best performance against Spanish side Atlético Madrid. Fortunately for him and Manchester United, that is the club he will face in the last 16 of the competition on Thursday. Here’s a look at Ronaldo’s best performance against Atletico in the Champions League
Real Madrid vs Atlético Madrid – UCL Final 2013–14
A Champions League final and Cristiano Ronaldo, possibly one of the best football pairings in the world. For a man who has stayed at the top of his game through every single match in the competition, a final is a place where he simply lets the beast out. That’s how Atlético discovered their bogey player in 2014, a man who would come back to haunt them time and time again. The Portuguese, who was then part of Real Madrid, put in an impressive performance, scoring the final goal in a 4–1 defeat that saw Los Blancos lift the crown.
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Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid – UCL Semi-Final 2016–17
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. Atlético were scrambling for some sweet revenge on their local rivals for ruining their European ambitions for three straight seasons. Unfortunately, the Portuguese had something to say about it. Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in the first leg of the tie, which Real won 3–0, and was eventually tied. The Bernabeu was once again in awe as their number 7 weaved his magic and proved once again why he belongs in the pantheon of football legends.
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Juventus vs Atletico Madrid – UCL Round of 16 2018-19
When Atlético Madrid won the first leg of their Round of 16 tie against Juventus 2-0 in 2019, many believed the Spanish side would reach the quarter-finals and finally knock Ronaldo out of the Champions League . Manager Diego Simeone held an unpleasant celebration at the time only to rub salt into his opponents’ wounds. Little did Atlético fans imagine that Ronaldo would produce another stellar performance to take Juventus through to the next round. The Portuguese again scored a hat-trick as the then Italian champions won 3–0 and went 3–2 on aggregate.