‘He’s a living football god’: Rio Ferdinand heaps praise on Juventus saviour Cristiano Ronaldo after Portugal star scores stunning hat-trick to overturn 2-0 deficit against Atletico
- Cristiano Ronaldo scored a remarkable hat-trick to help Juventus beat Atletico
- Italian champions were trailing 2-0 after first leg but Ronaldo turned tie around
- Former team-mate Rio Ferdinand was left in awe of Portuguese star’s brilliance
- The BT Sport pundit described Ronaldo as a ‘living football god’
Rio Ferdinand described Cristiano Ronaldo as a ‘living football god’ after the Juventus star overturned a two-goal deficit by scoring a stunning hat-trick against Atletico.
The Italian champions looked to be facing the steepest of uphill tasks after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Diego Simeone’s side three weeks ago in Madrid.
But Ronaldo warned the capital city club they would face a cauldron in Turin – and it turned out the fire would be lit by the Portugal star himself.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a remarkable hat-trick as Juventus defeat Atletico 3-0 in Turin
BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand described the Juventus talisman as a ‘living football god’
Former team-mate and BT Sport pundit Ferdinand was once again left in awe of the former Real Madrid and Manchester United frontman, describing his performance as godlike – while comparing his first goal to header-specialist Duncan Ferguson.
‘He’s a living football god,’ said Ferdinand.
‘It’s ridiculous what he’s doing. All the records – in the Champions League, he’s got every record you can imagine. He’s joint most hat tricks with Messi.
‘This goal (first goal) is like Duncan Ferguson in his prime, attacking the ball, leaving the full back in a heap, that’s what you call desire.’
Atletico came to the Juventus Stadium with a seemingly safe 2-0 advantage, with goals from Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez putting the 2014 and 2016 finalists in command.
Notorious for their defensive solidity, not many would have backed the Italians to break the Spaniards down but through Ronaldo – and a bit of help from technology – they sent Simeone’s side packing.
The Italian champions trailed 2-0 from the first leg but Ronaldo’s brilliance flipped the tie
Ronaldo opened the scoring with a stunning header before adding two more after half time
The Portugal star mocked Atletico coach Diego Simeone’s ‘cojones’ celebration at full-time
Ronaldo opened the scoring in the first half with a powerful header which was aided by a salmon-like leap over full-back Juanfran.
He then pulled his side level on aggregate with another header after the break, this time goalkeeper Jan Oblak appeared to have clawed the ball away however goal-line technology intervened to reveal it had in fact crossed the line.
And then the five-time Champions League winner stepped up to fire home a penalty with a little over five minutes remaining after Federico Bernardeschi was fouled in the penalty area.
Fellow BT Sport pundit Joleon Lescott and presenter Gary Lineker added to the praise.
Ronaldo has scored eight Champions League hat-tricks, a joint record with Lionel Messi
Gary Lineker (left) and Joleon Lescott (right) also heaped praise on the match-winner
Lineker chimed: ‘I think he’s the best header of a ball I’ve ever seen.’
Lescott meanwhile praised his physique: ‘He’s up there, athletically he’s ridiculous.
‘He loves it, to score goals, in any competition even if you’re 2-0 up you don’t want to be facing this guy.’
Ferdinand added: ‘This by the way is against an Atletico Madrid team who are renouned for having an unbelievable defence. He’s scored a hat trick!
‘He didn’t look nervous did he (for the penalty)? Unbelievable. This is my house, he said. Get out. Ridiculous, ridiculous.’