Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Juventus to a thrilling win against Atletico Madrid in the second-leg of the Champions League Round-of-16 yesterday, scoring a hattrick that saw them advance to the next stage.
Atletico had won the first-leg 2-0 last month, and were poised to proceed to the Quarter-finals by seeing through yesterday’s game as well. But the Portuguese man’s goals meant that Juventus completed the turnaround needed for them to go through instead.
Cristiano had a a poor outing in the first-leg, which had in turn invited the ire of numerous fans. But Borussia Monchengladbach’s manager Dieter Hecking was not one of them.
In fact, the former Wolfsburg manager even predicted that Ronaldo will score a hattrick and Juventus will qualify, while speaking to the media three days ago. Amazingly, both his predictions came true as we saw a few hours ago.
Hecking was Wolfsburg’s manager in 2016-’17 when the ex-Real Madrid man performed a similar feat against them in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
“I remember that night I told the team that we should not be afraid, ether of him or of the Bernabeu, but we were already down 2-0 in 17 minutes,” Hecking recollected the scenes from two years ago, as Wolfsburg played Real Madrid in the second-leg of the Quarter-finals. The German side had a 2-0 advantage from the first leg, but the Portuguese star cancelled that out very quickly in the first half, before going on to score a third goal in the 77th minute.
“Ronaldo is capable of everything, he can also score 3 goals again as he did against my Wolfsburg. Of course he can. Atletico has the best defensive phase in Europe and an excellent attack. Without Ronaldo, who can invent goals in any way, it would be impossible for Juventus to progress,” Hecking had gone on to say, before adding: “If I said that Ronaldo is not the strongest player I have ever met, I would be lying.”
It turns out that Cristiano Ronaldo produced an exact replica of that result against Wolfsburg, as he singlehandedly eliminated Atletico Madrid with Dieter Hecking’s golden words ringing true.