Neville claims that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored his seventh Champions League hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, is a greater player than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Ronaldo has been revving up to this moment all season and now that he’s finally unleashed his inner Hulk, we’re still seeing him do things that have never been done before. “It’s wonderful. Until the last chance expires, we will play (to reach the final)”, the Argentine told reporters.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone had warned of a strong start from Real, and that is exactly what his team faced.
The famous number seven headed the home side ahead in the 10th minute of the contest, before netting twice in the second period to ensure that reigning European champions, Real Madrid, would take a three-goal advantage into next week’s second leg at the Vicente Calderon. So how about a 2nd hat-trick in back-to-back Champions League games and against the best defense in Europe [see Ronaldo vs. Atlético Madrid, 2 May 2017]? Illustrious names including Carlo Ancelotti, Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Marcelo Lippi, but none have retained it. Zidane could be the first to do it, and who knows, such an achievement may not be matched.
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Not to take any credit away from the man himself, but Zinedine Zidane deserves a good portion of the praise. We will have to work hard and fight for it. We managed the game very well tonight, we prepared well for it and were aware of our strengths and theirs. We always had one more player in midfield.
“I’m not sure whether we’ve put in a better performance since I took over. What sets them apart from every other player, is that they deliver on the big occasions”.
It was also the former Manchester United forward’s 42nd Real hat-trick, 52nd strike in the tournament’s knockout stages and his 13th in a semi-final, while his tally for Los Blancos across all competitions stands at 399 in 389 games.
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The West’s top seed has had seven days off since completing a 4-0 whitewashing of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. Rivers started his second straight after missing the series’ first four games while being out with a strained left hamstring.
“We’re content, very happy and we can enjoy it, but we still have a long way to go in the Champions League and LaLiga”.
Victory extended Real’s hex over Atletico in the Champions League over the past four seasons. Ronaldo now has 103 goals in the Champions League, not counting one he scored in the qualifiers, which is three more than Atletico has scored since the new format was created in 1992.
On his ovation from Real fans at the Bernabeu, he added: “I just want you not to whistle me”. “I feel relaxed, more than anything else, more than ever”.
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Tuesday, alluding to President Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.