Ronaldo showed his transformation to deadly centre forward has been completed to perfection as he netted a superb hattrick in Real Madrid’s 3-0 Champions League semifinal first leg win over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night.
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.
The Portuguese forward, who also scored a treble in the quarterfinal 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.
Tuesday’s treble took his tally for Real Madrid to 399 goals in 389 games, although the forward claims he scored another in 2010 that was officially awarded to defender Pepe.
He says: “I am very happy for the goals and for reaching 400 goals with Real Madrid.
“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.”
As well as a positional switch, Ronaldo has had to deal this season with being rotated by French coach Zinedine Zidane, who has dropped the Portuguese for some of the team’s away trips to keep him fresh for the big occasions.
This has 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 semifinals with 13.
Zizou says: “He has the instinct for goals, he’s unique.