"It was an unbelievable moment," Cristiano Ronaldo told UEFA.com following his overhead smash against Juventus.
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After Cristiano Ronaldo had smashed the ball from high out of the rainy sky into the left-hand corner of Gianluigi Buffon's net for his second goal against Juventus on Tuesday, there was a stunned silence in Turin while the Real Madrid star wheeled away to celebrate, followed by spontaneous applause as home fans offered due respect. What a finish!
"Well, for me it was an unbelievable moment," Ronaldo told UEFA.com after Madrid's 3-0 UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg win. "I have to say thank you a lot – grazie – to all the Juventus supporters. What they did for me was amazing. I'm so happy – thank you. It had never happened to me in my career before."
The fans' generosity of spirit was especially admirable given Ronaldo has now scored nine goals in six games against the Bianconeri; but if his 64th-minute overhead kick deserves to be discussed for years to come, the striker himself gave only a brisk explanation of his masterpiece.
"It was a great goal, fantastic," the 33-year-old said. "I didn't expect to score that goal, but let's speak about the game. I think the game was amazing. We scored three goals against Juve, a great team. We played nice – I helped the team, I scored two goals. It was a great night."
Ronaldo's second was indeed sensational, yet his first – after three minutes – was perhaps more significant, making him the first player to score in ten successive UEFA Champions League matches. The sequence started ten months ago in the Merengues' final defeat of Juve in Cardiff, and Ronaldo noted: "Well, of course I'm proud, [but] I didn't know until you told me. I like to beat records."
The Portuguese has now netted 24 in his last 14 UEFA Champions League outings, a mark of how his side thrive at the highest level. "This is our competition," he stressed. "We love to play in the Champions League, I love to play in the Champions League. It was a great result. We have the second leg at home – we know Juve are a great team so we still have to be careful – but we are happy, the team is very happy.
"I liked our consistency," he went on. "We did not concede. Juve created a lot of pressure, especially in the first half, but we defended well. Our keeper, our defenders did a fantastic job. Then the second half, you know, we created a few chances and we scored. Football is like that – if you don't score, you don't win."
Should he continue at this rate, a third straight UEFA Champions League final triumph could loom, though Ronaldo was in no rush to say as much. "Step by step," he warned. "I think we should think about the second leg. Anything is possible in football, so let's think about that second leg and let's see what happens." He is right, of course. It is still too early to talk about the Kyiv final. However, when it comes to Goal of the Season, we may already have a winner.