JUVENTUS-ATLÉTICO

Cristiano Ronaldo: Italy looking to Juve star for hat-trick heroism

Cristiano, antes del Atlético-Juventus.

JESUS RUBIO

DIARIO AS

Tuttosport has called on the Portugal captain to repeat his treble against Wolfsburg and noted his record of hat-tricks against Atlético.

Cristiano Ronaldo was supposed to be the missing piece of the jigsaw for Juventus in their quest to regain the Summit of Europe for the first time since 1995-96, the Italian club splashing out 117 million euros to bring the five-times winner of the continent’s elite club competition to Turin last summer.

But after Juve’s 2-0 defeat at Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the last 16 clash between the sides, the Serie A club’s ambitions hang by a thread. Runners-up five times since their last triumph, Juve will have to score at least twice without reply in the Allianz Stadium to take the tie to extra-time, but the Italian media have been busy collating Ronaldo’s statistics in the competition – and against the LaLiga side – and speculating an extra half-hour may not be necessary.

Tuttosport ran a headline sounding a rallying cry for the Old Lady: “Juve? Coming back from 2-0 down? Cristiano has already done it…” in allusion to the 2015-16 Champions League when Wolfsburg took a 2-0 advantage to the Bernabéu and Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick to turn the tie around.

Ronaldo to the rescue? 

The Portuguese’s statistics in the competition also make for impressive reading. Ronaldo has scored twice or more in a Champions League game 34 times, with 27 doubles, six hat-tricks and a four-goal haul against Malmö.

Against Atlético, Ronaldo has 22 goals, including three hat-tricks and one brace. One of those hat-tricks came in the Champions League, in the 2016-17 semi-finals.

However, Under Diego Simeone, Atlético have never lost a Champions League tie after triumphing in the opening leg. Juventus, meanwhile, have never overturned a 2-0 deficit in European competition home or away.

If Ronaldo is to save the day for Juve, he will need to write another piece of history in Turin on March 13.