Cristiano Ronaldo: “I Knew I Would Be Decisive”

Cristiano Ronaldo: “I Knew I Would Be Decisive”

Ronaldo penalty against Juvenus
(Photo credit CURTO DE LA TORRE/AFP/Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo had no doubts that he would convert the late penalty to take Real Madrid to the semi-finals of the 2018 Champions League.

Juventus had managed to claw back Real’s 3-0 first leg lead and stood on the brink of pulling off one of the most remarkable comebacks in Champions League history. Then in the 97th minute, with the quarter-final tie heading into extra time, English referee Michael Oliver awarded Real Madrid a penalty for Mehdi Benatia’s foul on Lucas Vazquez.

Ronaldo looked coolness personified as he stepped up to drive the ball into the top corner and take holders Real into the last four of the competition. It was Ronaldo’s 41st goal of the season and his 11th in consecutive games.

The Portugal captain told reporters at the end of the game: “The pulse increased, but I calmed down, and I knew I would be decisive.”

Real boss Zinedine Zidane said he was equally positive as he watched the three-goal first leg league disappear.

The Frenchman said: “They played well in the first leg and perhaps deserved a goal. Today it was the same for us.

“They scored early on like we did there and this is football. The Champions League is the creme de la creme and anything can happen.

“We were always going to suffer and be pressed high. They did that and played wonderfully well and their coach’s plan worked.

“I never thought we were going out, I am a positive thinker. I never believed we weren’t going through.”

The penalty decision caused uproar in the Juventus team. Captain Gianluigi Buffon was given a red card for taking his protestations too far as he saw his Champions League dream die over what he claimed to be a “dubious incident”.

The veteran goalkeeper still hadn’t calmed down after the match when speaking to Italian TV, saying that Oliver should “sit in the stands eating crisps” for making the decision and saying the ref has “a bag of rubbish for a heart”.

Real’s number 7 saw the incident differently. “I don’t understand why they are protesting, Lucas was tackled from behind and if they don’t give him the penalty, it is a goal” he said.

Los Blancos can now look forward to the Champions League semi-final draw on Friday when they go into the hat with Roma, Liverpool and Bayern Munich. In betting odds, Real are currenty 13/8 favourite to win their third consecutive Champions League title. 2013 winners Bayern Munich are 15/8, Liverpool 4/1 and Roma, who eliminated Spanish rivals Barcelona, are the outsiders at 11/1.