A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick has fired Juventus into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, overcoming a 2-0 first leg deficit against Atlético Madrid.

The Portuguese superstar scored his first two goals in under an hour and completed his hat-trick in the 86th minute after he converted his penalty.

Ronaldo’s contribution has saved Juve from elimination, as many thought that they were set to depart the competition in the round of 16. The argument that the Italian giants were not getting value for their money was put forward, however Ronaldo showed his worth by sending Juve to the next stage.

Ronaldo is a five-time winner of the Champions League and knows what it takes to win Europe’s greatest competition. His experience was clearly on show and Juve fans can feel optimism again that their club can win their first Champions League trophy since the 1995/96 season.

Remarkably, Ronaldo had scored only one goal in this season’s Champions League prior to last night’s match, coming in Juve’s 2-1 home loss to Manchester United in November. His hat-trick has lifted him to four goals, and his performance has showed that he can do it again in Juve’s upcoming matches in the competition.

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The 34-year-old’s bag of goals was Juve’s second hat-trick of the tournament this season – Paulo Dybala scored three against Swiss side Young Boys in October.

Ronaldo has netted 19 goals in the Serie A this season, which puts him behind Fabio Quagliarella and equal with Krzysztof Piatek in the leading goal scorer tally. He has played a major part in Juve’s 18-point lead at the top of the table in the Serie A, however last night’s hat-trick has sent a warning to the remaining teams in the competition.

Despite his age, Ronaldo still has what it takes to be a gamebreaker for Juve and he is certainly showing that he is worth the €100 million plus that the Italian giants spent on him.

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Tim Sperliotis
tsperliotis@gmail.com