Ronaldo hat-trick fires Real Madrid into semis
Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Real Madrid to a record sixth successive Champions League semi-final with a hat-trick as the Spanish giants overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit, beating Wolfsburg 3-0 on Tuesday.
Ronaldo struck twice in just over a minute to bring Madrid level in the tie inside 17 minutes.
Yet, the 10-time winners were forced to wait until 13 minutes from time to find the winner when Ronaldo’s dipping free-kick escaped the clutches of Diego Benaglio to find the bottom corner.
“Cristiano deserved a magic night,” said Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.
“We need him, he gives everything for the shirt. For a long time he has shown he is the number one and when he is on form you notice.”
Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane hailed his side’s collective effort, but reserved special praise for Ronaldo who became the first player to score three hat-tricks in the competition in one season.
“He is showing what he is, which is the best player in the world,” said the Frenchman.
“Cristiano needs the whole team, I want to speak about the team because they achieved this together.
“But he is special because not everyone is capable of scoring three goals.”
Wolfsburg boss Dieter Hecking was left to rue his side’s inability to defend from set-pieces and lack of a killer away goal.
“We should have defended better. To go to the next stage, we needed a goal,” he said.
“Two of the three goals were from dead balls and so that tells you that we didn’t defend right.”