Don't doubt him again! How much is Ronaldo worth if Griezmann's value is €100m?

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The Real Madrid all-time top scorer was back at it against his city rivals, netting his second hat-trick of the season against Diego Simeone's side


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He smiled, mimed a whistle and wagged his fingers in a mock warning to a Santiago Bernabeu which is sometimes quick to lose its patience. Don't doubt him ever again. That moment came after he had just completed his stunning hat-trick. 

That’s 35 goals in what had been an “average” season for him up until the past couple of weeks. Forty-two hat-tricks for Real Madrid. Fifty Champions League knockout goals. Thirteen semi-final goals in this competition.

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Cristiano Ronaldo is going to win Real Madrid the Champions League again.

There was a statistic floating around when Ronaldo scored the opening goal here which declared that he had just hit his 101st goal in this competition whereas Atletico Madrid in their entire history had managed just the 100. He would make it 102 and 103 before the night was out. Atletico remain stuck on 100 and are doomed.

Atletico have a huge historical hex upon them when it comes to facing their city rivals Real in European competition. This season will make it four in a row in which their continental ambitions are stopped dead in their tracks by Real.

Ronaldo - Hat-trick versus Atletico Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo is applying finishing touches to a masterpiece of a career - this hat-trick in the UEFA Champions League semifinals Posted by Goal.com on Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Atletico Madrid Champions League

As jittery as they get when they face Real, they will have developed a particular phobia about Ronaldo - whose every goal these days appears to be a landmark.

Six goalless months in the Champions League ended abruptly with a burst of five in two legs against Bayern Munich. He is peaking again and right now might well be the best exponent of penalty-box play that there has ever been.

By the time Karim Benzema was substituted for Lucas Vazquez, only Keylor Navas and the Madrid substitutes Nacho and Marcos Asensio had touched the ball fewer times than Ronaldo. His game is less about how often he gets hold of it and more about what he does when he gets it.

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Atletico have built a wall to base their Champions League ambitions on. On Tuesday it was made to look as pitiful as Donald Trump’s attempts to build one to separate the USA and Mexico. Ronaldo went over it with his first goal, through it with his second, around it with his third. Sure, they all depended on other people supplying him but he has proven again and again that if you can give him the ball he won’t let you down.

Up the other end there was another No.7 with intentions of becoming the world’s best. Antoine Griezmann instead watched another big game drift by without a meaningful contribution. The disparity in their performances on the night emphasised devastatingly the gulf in quality between them. It would be unfair to blame the Frenchman for this loss as all around him Atletico malfunctioned.

Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Atletico Madrid Champions LeagueCristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Atletico Madrid Champions LeagueCristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Atletico Madrid Champions League

Logic had many believing that this could be the moment when Zinedine Zidane’s Real were found out. They had been coasting for a large part of the year – relying on moments of individual inspiration rather than impressive collective performances to win matches and keep momentum.

Atleti would be too well-organised, too ruthless, too eager to surmount this difficult psychological hurdle. If only they could keep Ronaldo quiet they would have a chance.

“It’s great to have a player like him because you can play good in defence, you can control the midfield but at the end you need a player that scores to get the results," Toni Kroos told BT Sport.

"And he did. He scored five goals in the quarter-finals and today three so it’s unbelievable and very important for us.”

Well, Ronaldo and Zidane are making a habit of defying logic. That makes it back-to-back Champions League hat-tricks – not against Malmo or Legia Warsaw or Shakhtar Donetsk – but against Bayern and Atletico. It was Ronaldo’s second hat-trick against Diego Simeone’s team this season.

Don’t doubt him. Don’t ever doubt him.

 

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