Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo places Real Madrid in ideal position to reach Champions League Final

Champions League semifinal: Real Madrid 3-0 Atletico Madrid

A hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo gives Real Madrid a massive advantage before the return leg. Coach Zidane comments:

“I’m not sure whether we’ve put in a better performance since I took over. We produced a great display and it was far from easy to go out and score three goals tonight. Our opening half an hour was fantastic and we had a lot of chances to have got a second, but we didn’t manage to do so until after the break. We’re very happy with our performance, the three goals and, above all, to have kept a clean sheet here at home. This was a great performance and perhaps our best yet.

Today we’re entitled to be happy and enjoy how we performed out there. There’s still a long way to go, both in LaLiga and the Champions League. We haven’t won anything yet. I don’t think that you could say that we’re in a state of euphoria. We’ll enjoy this one tonight and then rest up. Tomorrow we’ll turn our attentions to what’s an important game on Saturday.

“Simeone is right, there’s still a second leg to come. We managed the game very well tonight, we prepared well for it and were aware of our strengths and theirs. You could certainly say that we were the better side today. The 3-0 scoreline reflects what a good performance it was. However, there’s still the second leg and we’ll have to work hard and battle and we’re sure to have to dig in there. There’s no such thing as an easy game in football. We know that we’re going to have to perform just as well and put in a perfect performance if we’re to progress.

On Ronaldo:
“I don’t know whether it’s all down to him being rested. He’s got goals in him and he’s unique. It’s important for him to rest from time to time and he knows that. I’m pleased because whenever a player comes off, whoever comes on does a great job, it’s impressive. We know exactly how we have to play. Today we went with Isco in the starting line-up, operating between the lines, and he did a marvelous job. Then, when we brought Lucas and Marco on that gave a bit more balance defensively and offered us greater width down the flanks. I’m pleased with all of my players.

The future
“I’m happy. Every day I’m enjoy my work with the players. However, we haven’t won anything yet and we need to be just as on it as we always are. I’m delighted that we’ve put in a great performance tonight. It’s far from easy to score three goals against tough opposition, but we’ve got to keep going. We’ve got very good players here, if we’re patient we can hurt any team. The first half an hour today was played at a fantastic pace, with intensity and great technique. That was followed by five or 10 minutes in which it was a bit more difficult. We were very effective in the second half, we managed the game very well”.

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