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Thursday 20 June 2019

Allegri hails hat-trick hero Ronaldo

TREBLE: Cristiano Ronaldo. AP Photo/Luca Bruno
TREBLE: Cristiano Ronaldo. AP Photo/Luca Bruno

Massimiliano Allegri praised hat-trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo after he underlined his status in Europe's elite by firing Juventus into the Champions League quarter-finals.

Juve trailed Atletico Madrid by two goals heading into the round of 16 second leg in Turin but Ronaldo overturned the deficit with three goals as Juventus progressed with a 3-2 aggregate victory.

"We weren't perfect, but we did do well to remain concentrated," Allegri said in a press conference.

"There was the risk of taking a hysterical approach to the game, as the idea of the comeback had been talked about so much, but we had 95 minutes to get the job done. We did very well and the team deserve congratulations.

"It would've been really strange for Ronaldo to end his Champions League season with only one goal. He did well and the lads all contributed, including the fans providing a marvellous backdrop for the match.

"I think we gave a wonderful evening of football to all those passionate about the sport in Italy."

Atletico coach Diego Simeone also praised Portugal international Ronaldo. Simeone said: "He is among the best in the world, it can happen that in such games he makes these goals."

Ronaldo was also seen to make what appeared to be an obscene gesture at the end of the game, which Simeone believes was a copycat of his own celebration during the first leg.

Gesture

"He saw the gesture I made at Wanda (Metropolitano Stadium) and imitated it, to show his character," Simeone added.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, hailed it a "magical night."

"It was always going to be a special night - and it was, not only for the goals, but for the team," Ronaldo said. "This is the mentality of champions, this is the journey to follow. We enjoyed a magical night.

"Atletico were a difficult team, but we were strong too. We will see what will happen," added Ronaldo, who has scored 124 goals in 160 Champions League appearances.

Joao Cancelo, who provided the cross for Ronaldo's second header in the 49th minute, hailed his Portugal team-mate after a thrilling tie.

"Ronaldo? He's fantastic," Cancelo said. "Now we will think about the league, we want to win against Genoa (on Sunday)."

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