Cristiano Ronaldo was left to marvel in his own brilliance after scoring a sensational hat-trick to guide Real Madrid to a famous comeback win. "A perfect, magical night."
Article top media content
"Goals are in my DNA" beamed Cristiano Ronaldo and who can argue? The 31-year-old reckoned he had just about a "perfect, magical night" as he scored a stunning hat-trick to complete a famous 'remontada' (comeback) as Real Madrid beat Wolfsburg 3-2 on aggregate.
Victory seals a place in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the sixth season running and it is also the sixth successive campaign in which the No7 has passed 45 goals in all competitions.
This treble was his 37th hat-trick for the Spanish outfit and in turn he became the first player to net three hat-tricks in one UEFA Champions League season. "It's not bad, is it?" he joked with the media after the game.
"I'm really happy, it was a great game," he added to UEFA.com. "The side played well, we came into the match strongly. We played with intensity in the opening minutes and we scored two quick goals."
Ronaldo's two-minute double salvo in the first half cancelled out Dieter Hecking's side's first-leg lead inside 17 minutes to blow their game plan out of the water. From there on, Madrid dominated.
"We controlled the game. Wolfsburg were good: they used the ball well, but I think over 90 minutes we were better. We created more chances and we deserve to get to the next round," said the Portuguese international.
Ronaldo's third, a direct free-kick from 25 metres, took him to 16 competition goals for the season – just one behind his record of 17 set in 2013/14. Yet the 31-year-old insists individual milestones reflect team success. "Obviously it's not something that I'm looking for, but hopefully I can break my own record and score more than 17 goals. It would be a good sign. It will be good for me and good for the team. I'll try my best."
Having sprung a surprise in the first leg, the German outfit went into the game with a 2-0 lead, meaning the Merengues had it all to do under the lights at their famous stadium. With the ground rocking and his team needing something special, the competition's all-time record goalscorer soon stepped up to the plate to complete the comeback.
Madrid have an illustrious history of rising from the dead in European competition, lighting up the continent in the 1970s and 80s with a number of implausible escapes. Despite this, it had actually been 14 years since they had come from behind to win a Champions League tie and on that occasion now-manager Zinédine Zidane led the charge against Bayern.
"At the Bernabéu comebacks are always on people's lips," Ronaldo said. "Real Madrid have had many a comeback in their history and we managed one tonight too, so the side is very happy. The supporters were amazing and we must thank them and say well done to them too. It was a perfect, magical night."