Diego Simeone: Ronaldo showed 'character' by copying celebration

Ronnie rescues Juve's Champions League dream

Diego Simeone said that he has no problem in Cristiano Ronaldo copying his celebration, after the 34-year-old scored a hat-trick in Juventus' Champions League last-16 triumph against the Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night.

The Old Lady pulled off a remarkable comeback in Turin; heading into the game trailing the resilient Spaniards by two goals, it looked as though their journey in this season's competition was all but over, but a Ronaldo-inspired performance saw them run out 3-2 winners on aggregate. The former Real Madrid man, who so frequently steps up to the plate in the UCL, netted a hat-trick to book the Italian's place in next month's quarter-finals.

Ronaldo's first was a trademark header at the back post, out-jumping Atletico defender Juanfran to nod the ball home past Jan Oblak. His second was a little less clear cut - another header at the back post appeared to be kept out by Oblak at first, however upon checking with the VAR, the referee concluded that the ball had in fact gone over the line.

With the game evenly poised at 2-2 on aggregate, it looked as though extra-time and possibly penalties would have to be introduced to decide who made it through to the next round. That was until a foolish shove on Juventus winger Federico Bernardeschi by Atletico's Angel Correa saw the hosts awarded a late spot kick. Ronaldo made no mistake in stroking the ball home from 12 yards, completing his hat-trick while cementing his teams position in the quarter-finals of the competition.

After the final whistle blew last night, Ronaldo imitated Atletico manager Diego Simeone's celebration after Madrid scored their second goal in the first leg a fortnight ago. The Argentine turned to fans and grabbed his crotch after Diego Godin doubled Atletico's lead at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in February, saying that it was because he felt his side had "shown a lot of balls" to win the tie.

"He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano and, like me, was trying to show his character," said Simeone.

"Ronaldo is the best in the world, he can put in these performances on big nights."

The Portugal skipper has now extended his lead at the top of the all-time Champions League goalscoring charts to 124 goals, 18 ahead of Barcelona's Lionel Messi who currently has 106 to his name.

The Argentine will be looking to close that gap this evening when his side welcome Ligue 1 outfit Lyon to the Camp Nou - can he replicate Ronaldo's scintillating performance and also book Barca a place in the quarter-finals?


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