Cristiano Ronaldo proved Atletico Madrid’s Champions League dream destroyer once more with a hat-trick as Real Madrid took a commanding 3-0 semifinal, first leg lead on Tuesday.
Ronaldo extended his lead as the all-time top scorer in Madrid derby matches by taking his tally to 21 and put Real firmly on course to defend their title in the final in Cardiff on June 3.
The Portuguese rewarded a bright Real start by heading home Casemiro’s deflected cross after just 10 minutes.
Ronaldo then smashed home from just inside the area and turned home Lucas Vazquez’s cross in the final 20 minutes as Real continued their domination of Atletico having eliminated them in the Champions League for the past three seasons.
“The team was tremendous. I scored the goals but the team was phenomenal from start to finish,” said Ronaldo.
The sides meet again for the second leg on May 10.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone, meanwhile, told his side to forget their latest derby demolition and hope for a miracle at the last European match at their Vicente Calderon stadium next week.
“We need to forget about this game,” said the Argentine.
“It seems impossible, but it is football and football has these unexpected things that make it marvelous.
“Until the last drip of hope is gone, we will give it everything we have.”
The home fans made sure to put Atletico in their place before kick-off with chants of “kings of Europe” and a “how does it feel” banner alongside a display of their 11 European Cups.
However, at the other end, Keylor Navas rescued Real from conceding a
Real suffered an injury blow right on halftime when Dani Carvajal pulled up with a muscle problem that looks set to keep him out of the second leg.