Cradling a match ball in his arms after the final whistle for the second Champions League game in a row, hat-trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo lavished praise on his colleagues for playing their local rivals off the park with a complete team effort in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final, but also had words for the hard-to-please Estadio Santiago Bernabeu faithful, who again appeared to whistle him at times.
The Portuguese headed home the opening goal just 10 minutes into the match, before bulging Jan Oblak’s net with a thunderous second goal in the 73rd minute and slotting home a third in the 86th.
Atletico Madrid were unable to score an away goal, meaning the Champions League holders will go to the Estadio Vicente Calderon next Wednesday with a handsome 3-0 lead in their pockets.
“The entire team must be congratulated because they were all phenomenal,” Ronaldo told a Mega reporter after the final whistle.
“We played well from start to finish, and my goals came naturally.”
The goals in question mean the forward now has 400 to his name for the capital club, something he was happy to acknowledge while also sounding a note of caution.
“I’m very happy to have scored three goals in the game and 400 for my club, but Atletico are a very strong team and are in the semi-finals for a reason, so we have to maintain our concentration,” he warned.
“Oblak was fantastic when we played in LaLiga and this time we managed to score, but there’s one more game remaining.”
The Euro 2016 champion was also asked about a gesture he made to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu faithful after his third goal, in which he appeared to be coaxing them to substitute jeers for applause more often.
“I always try to do my best and I don’t want to be whistled at,” CR7 concluded.