Former Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti heaped praise on “champion” Cristiano Ronaldo for once again proving what sets him apart from other great players.
Ronaldo scored a hat-trick on Tuesday night to effectively fire Juventus into the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of Atletico Madrid, who blew a 2-0 aggregate lead to lose the return leg of their last-16 tie in Turin 3-0.
The five-time Ballon d’Or reportedly promised he would score a treble before the game and delivered on his word in brilliant fashion to lead a stunned Argentine legend Diego Maradona to claim that Ronaldo is a “wizard”.
But Ancelotti, who won the 2013/14 Champions League with Ronaldo during his two-year spell in charge of Real, isn’t the least bit surprised by his former star man’s exploits as he always delivers on the big stage.
“Ronaldo never fails in these games,” Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia.
“There are great players who play well in the important matches but he celebrates himself.
“This is the difference between the great players and champions, like him. Everyone expects his performance to go down, but it doesn’t. It never goes down.”
“With him, I lived good moments, the others are likely doing the same. I have already enjoyed enough with him,”
“Juventus? They are very strong, Atletico are not easy to deal with. Juve made an extraordinary impression.”
Ronaldo also equalled long-time rival Lionel Messi’s record of eight Champions League hat-tricks and has now scored 124 goals in 160 games in Europe’s biggest club competition.
Meanwhile, Ancelotti is preparing his Napoli team for tonight’s away game at Red Bull Salzburg in the Europa League.
The Italian coach hopes Napoli will go all-out for victory in the second leg of their last-16 tie in Austria, despite holding a commanding 3-0 aggregate lead.
The Salzburg and Napoli match will begin at 6:55 PM (CET).