Kroos Stars As Real Madrid Beat Galatasaray In Champions League

Real Madrid’s German midfielder Toni Kroos (R) celebrates with team mates after he scored a goal during the UEFA Champions League group A football match between Galatasaray and Real Madrid on October 22, 2019 at the Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi in Istanbul.
OZAN KOSE / AFP

 

Real Madrid came away from Istanbul with three crucial Champions League points on Tuesday with a 1-0 away win at Galatasaray thanks to a first-half Toni Kroos goal and Eden Hazard’s threatening creativity.

Pressure on coach Zinedine Zidane will be alleviated after Madrid had been beaten in their first European game by PSG, before they had to fight back from 2-0 down at home to Club Brugge to snatch a point in their second match of the campaign.

The thirteen-times European champions arrived in Istanbul needing a win against motivated opponents backed by passionate and noisy supporters.

Zidane said on Monday he was ‘bothered’ by rumours of his imminent replacement in the Madrid hot-seat, and he paced the touchline with a haunted look at times in the Turkish capital.

Belgian star Hazard shone and it was a clever cut-back from him that provided Kroos with a shot on goal, and his snap-shot was deflected past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, who kept the visitors at bay for the rest of the proceedings.

Karim Benzema was also busy but curled two shots wide when he might have done better.

Captain Sergio Ramos was colossal at the heart of the Real defence with an ever present contribution despite his every touch being roundly booed.

Behind him Belgium ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois kept a cool head when stopping several Turkish attempts on his goal notably with efforts from Florin Andone and Younes Belhanda.

Hazard hit the crossbar after cutting round Muslera late on and was swiftly subbed by Zidane.

PSG thrashed Club Brugge 5-0 in the other Group A game and have nine points to Madrid’s four while Brugge have two and Galatasaray one after three games.

AFP

 

 

Germany’s Kroos Relishing Shot At Redemption Against France

 

Toni Kroos says Germany are relishing the chance for redemption following a woeful World Cup campaign as they prepare for crunch Nations League matches away to the Netherlands and France.

“Those games sound good to the ear and we hear the ringing of six points,” quipped the Real Madrid midfielder.

“We’re motivated, we want two wins.”

A goalless draw against France in Munich last month leaves Germany second in Group One of the Nations League, three points behind leaders France.

Having finished bottom of their group in Russia following a shock defeat to South Korea, victories over the Dutch in Amsterdam on Saturday and against the French next Tuesday in Paris would go a long way in helping coach Joachim Loew repair the damage to his hitherto unblemished reputation.

Kroos insists “three games at the World Cup will not change what we’ve been building for years”, although claiming six points over the coming days should help ease the pressure on Loew, who has faced criticism in the German media.

On Thursday, former Germany star Michael Ballack said he was “surprised” the 58-year-old Loew had kept his job after the World Cup debacle.

“Maybe he wanted to take over…,” Kroos replied tongue-in-cheek to Ballack’s comments as he jumped to Loew’s defence ahead of the coach’s 168th international in charge on Saturday.

“New stimuli can also come from a coach who has been involved for a long time,” insisted Kroos, 28.

“He (Loew) asked himself after the World Cup whether he can still perform to his best.

“I think he deserves the chance and I think we will sort ourselves out with him.”

Nevertheless, the away matches in Amsterdam and Paris present a huge challenge.

As assistant coach Marcus Sorg put it “in the Nations League, you can’t afford a defeat, then you don’t have matters in your own hands any more.

“That is an incredibly high demand.”

Manchester City winger Leroy Sane, a surprise omission from the World Cup squad, is set to start on the left flank with Loew’s first-choice Marco Reus missing with a knee injury.

Injuries elsewhere have forced Loew to make further changes. Kevin Trapp, Antonio Ruediger, Leon Goretzka, Kai Havertz and Reus have dropped out of the original 23-man squad and been replaced by Emre Can, Serge Gnabry and Bernd Leno.

AFP

Ozil’s Claims Of Racism In German Camp ‘Nonsense’ – Kroos

 Germany’s midfielder Mesut Ozil reacts at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group F football match between South Korea and Germany at the Kazan Arena in Kazan. Luis Acosta / AFP

 

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos says Mesut Ozil was “out of order” to make accusations of racism within the German set up as he retired from international football last month.

“Basically, Mesut is a long-serving national team player and deserved a better exit as a footballer,” Kroos, 28, told German daily Bild.

“I have played with Mesut for many years and know that he is a nice guy. But the way he retired was out of order.

“The proportion of his statement which was fair and justified was unfortunately overshadowed by a much higher proportion of nonsense.

“I think he himself knows that racism does not exist within the national team and the DFB.

“On the contrary, we are always committed to diversity and integration. Mesut was a good example of that, like many of our team mates.”

Ozil, 29, created a furore last month when he retired from international football in an explosive three-part statement in which he accused German FA (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel of racism.

Missed opportunity 

“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” wrote Ozil, sparking a storm in Germany and triggering fierce debate about integration.

Ozil fell foul of German fans and was booed during pre-World Cup friendlies after he and fellow midfielder Ilkay Gundogan posed for pictures with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May, raising questions about the pair’s loyalty to Germany.

Only a handful of Germany players have spoken about the saga, which captain Manuel Neuer described as “stressful” while Thomas Mueller said there is “no question of racism within the team”.

Real Madrid star Kroos says Arsenal midfielder Ozil, who like Gundogan has Turkish roots, was wrong to meet with Erdogan and then wait two months before breaking his silence.

“Mesut was criticised for the photo — and rightly so,” said Kroos. “And he missed the chance to explain himself.

“Nevertheless, he was completely supported by the coaching staff and the (national) team.

“Later he was — like the rest of us — criticised for the performance at the WorldCup.

“The type of criticism was certainly not always at a good (justified) level — but then you have to deal with that as a player.”

In the first game since their World Cup debacle, Germany, who have plummeted to 15th in the FIFA rankings, will host world champions France in Munich on September 6 in the newly-launched Nations League tournament.

Khedira, Kroos stay on 

Germany head coach Joachim Loew has promised sweeping changes and Kroos has resisted the urge to retire.

“Yes, I will continue until Euro 2020 and have set the big goal that we will be far more successful than last time,” said Kroos.

Fellow German midfielder Sami Khedira, 31, also ruled out retirement on Thursday and hopes for a call-up against France to make amends for the WorldCup disaster.

“After a good season with Juventus, I played my two worst matches at the WorldCup with full fitness. That was really bad,” Khedira, wrote on Instagram.

However, Kroos says the squad Loew selects on August 29 must find the necessary drive that was so badly missing in Russia.

“We have to be greedy and more forceful again, as far as goal-scoring is concerned,” added Kroos.

“And we have to be more unpleasant to play against in terms of defence – without just defending.”

Loew welcomed Kroos’ decision to stay on.

“With his experience, class and personality, he is of course a key player who plays a very important role in our future plans — on and off the pitch,” reacted Loew on dfb.de.

However, the head coach has yet to comment on the Ozil fiasco.

AFP

[UPDATED] Kroos, Reus Save Germany From Shock World Cup Elimination

Germany’s midfielder Toni Kroos (rear C) heads the ball as he vies for it with Sweden’s midfielder Viktor Claesson (front C) during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group F football match between Germany and Sweden at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on June 23, 2018.
Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

 

Toni Kroos rescued Germany’s World Cup hopes in dramatic fashion on Saturday, curling in a stunning free-kick deep in injury time to seal a 2-1 win against Sweden.

The defending champions were in desperate trouble when Ola Toivonen put the Swedes ahead in the first half and even though Marco Reus equalised shortly after the interval, Joachim Loew’s men could not find the goal they craved as time ticked away.

Germany’s task was made more difficult when key defender Jerome Boateng was sent off in the 82nd minute for a second yellow card.

But Kroos stepped up in the 95th minute to curl a free-kick from the left edge of the penalty area into the top corner, beating the despairing dive of Robin Olsen, who had been outstanding in the Swedish goal.

The result in Sochi means Germany join Sweden on three points in Group F, with Mexico in the lead on six points after their earlier victory against South Korea, who have no points after two games.

The final games in the group on Wednesday pit South Korea against Germany and Mexico against Sweden.

Mexico showed that their shock defeat of Germany last weekend was no fluke with a 2-1 defeat of South Korea in Rostov-on-Don.

West Ham striker Javier Hernandez grabbed his 50th international goal while Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela was also on target from the penalty spot.

South Korea scored a late consolation strike from Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, but it was too little, too late for the Asian giants, who desperately needed a victory after losing to Sweden in their opening game.

“Sometimes against teams that have less of a footballing tradition than the biggest nations, you can tend to rest on your laurels and lose concentration,” said Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

“But it was a deserved victory. We are very happy and we share that with the whole of the country.”

Lukaku, Hazard strike

Earlier, Belgium powered towards the last 16, producing an imperious display to overwhelm Tunisia, with Premier League stars Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard scoring two apiece in a 5-2 rout at Moscow’s Spartak Stadium.

The one-sided victory cemented Belgium’s place at the top of Group G and all but guaranteed their place in the knockout rounds, with just one group game, against England, remaining.

Manchester United striker Lukaku took his goals tally to the tournament to four as the Red Devils carved open Tunisia’s defence with an impressive attacking display.

Chelsea playmaker Hazard fired Belgium into an early lead from the penalty spot before Lukaku found the net in the 16th minute, adding another on the stroke of half-time.

Hazard added another in the 51st minute before substitute Michy Batshuayi added the fifth in the 90th minute.

Dylan Bronn and captain Wahbi Khazri grabbed consolation goals for Tunisia, who now face almost certain elimination.

“We are a good team, we want to reach the final and we are stronger than four years ago,” said Hazard, the man-of-the-match.

“The match was easy because we scored after five minutes and knew Tunisia would leave spaces as they needed to win, making it easier for us.”

Belgium and England will qualify for the last 16 on Sunday if England defeat Panama in Nizhny Novgorod.

The fallout from Friday’s politically charged clash between Switzerland and Serbia rumbled on Saturday.

Switzerland snatched a dramatic 2-1 win over Serbia on Friday courtesy of goals from Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Both Xhaka and Shaqiri, who have roots in Kosovo, a former province of Serbia that has declared independence in a move not recognised by Belgrade, celebrated their goals by making a gesture representing the Albanian flag.

The Serbian press slammed the celebrations as “shameful provocation.”

Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic demanded German match referee Felix Brych be tried as a war criminal in The Hague after failing to award his team a penalty.

“We were robbed,” Mladen Krstajic told Serbian reporters on Saturday, when asked about Brych’s decision.

“I wouldn’t give him either a yellow or red card, I would send him to The Hague. Then they could put him on trial, like they did to us.”

The now-defunct Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was a UN body that prosecutes the perpetrators of war crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

AFP

 

Ronaldo Fires Real Madrid To FIFA Club World Cup Finals

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid, FIFA Club World CupReal Madrid on Thursday beat Club America 2-0 to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final.

The European champions have also extended their unbeaten run to 36 games.

Karim Benzema set the Spanish giants on the lead with a brilliant finish after a Toni Kroos’ pass.

Cristiano Ronaldo sealed the win by netting a second in added time amid some confusion.

Real Madrid have consequently secured a place in Sunday’s final against Kashima Antlers.

Kashima had made history by becoming the first Japanese team to reach the final of the global competition after beating Atletico Nacional 3-0 in Osaka.

Shoma Doi converted a historic penalty on 33 minutes, just before Yasushi Endo and Yuma Suzuki bagged two late second-half goals to send the J-league champions into the global club showpiece final.

Messi, Ronaldo Others Contend For 2016 Ballon d’Or

Ballon d'Or, Lionel Messi, Cristiano RonaldoFootball legend, Lionel Messi has been shortlisted alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for the 2016 Ballon d’Or award.

France Football magazine reveals that the 30-man list is being released in bunches of five players throughout Monday, October 24.

The award which has been given annually by France Football since 1956 has become the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the past six years.

Barcelona forward, Messi has bagged the honour for a record fifth time while Real Madrid’s Ronaldo has won the award three times.

ronaldo_2788476b
Cristiano Ronaldo

The French magazine has released the names of 30 nominees of the 2016 Ballon d’Or.

Full List
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City & Argentina)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund & Gabon)
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City & Belgium)
Paulo Dybala (Juventus & Argentina)
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid & Uruguay)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid & France)
Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli/Juventus & Argentina)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United & Sweden)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain)
Koke (Atletico Madrid & Spain)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern München & Poland)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur & France)
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City & Algeria)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid & Croatia)
Thomas Müller (Bayern München & Germany)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern München & Germany)
Neymar (Barcelona & Brazil)
Dimitri Payet (West Ham & France)
Pepe (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Paul Pogba (Juventus/Manchester United & France)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid & Spain)
Rui Patricio (Sporting CP & Portugal)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Luis Suárez (Barcelona & Uruguay)
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City & England)
Arturo Vidal (Bayern München & Chile).

 

UEFA EURO 2016 Team Of The Tournament Revealed

Euro 2016, Team of the TournamentFour Portugal players, three from Germany and two each representing France and Wales have made the official UEFA EURO 2016 Team of the Tournament.

The team, in a 4-2-3-1 formation, is made up of: Rui Patrício (Portugal); Joshua Kimmich (Germany), Jérôme Boateng (Germany), Pepe (Portugal), Raphaël Guerreiro (Portugal); Toni Kroos (Germany), Joe Allen (Wales); Antoine Griezmann (France), Aaron Ramsey (Wales), Dimitri Payet (France); Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal).

According to Uefa.com, the team was selected by UEFA’s 13-strong panel of technical observers, led by UEFA chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu and including Sir Alex Ferguson, Alain Giresse, David Moyes, Packie Bonner and Mixu Paatelainen.

Others are Savo Milošević, Peter Rudbæk, Gareth Southgate, Thomas Schaaf, Jean-François Domergue, Ginés Meléndez and Jean-Paul Brigger.

The technical observers have made their choices based on various criteria, which had been outlined before the tournament.

The formation was selected as the most-used of the finals. Two technical observers were present at every game and their reports will contribute to the UEFA EURO 2016 technical report, which will be released on UEFA.com in September.

UEFA coaching ambassador Sir Alex Ferguson said: “After quite a bit of deliberation, the observers chose a team that features the best performing players from the best performing teams at UEFA EURO 2016.

“We have chosen dominant central defenders; full-backs who can defend and attack; deep-lying midfielders who can control the game and dynamic, flexible and creative attackers, all of whom have the ability to create and score goals.

“We believe that the selected XI represents the best of the competition.”

In the past a 23-man squad was selected with Ronaldo (2004 and 2012) and Pepe (2008 and 2012) both previously picked twice. Ronaldo was also in the All-Time EURO 11 named before the tournament.

Champions League: Atletico, Real Madrid Arrive For Milan Final

Champions League, Atletico, Real MadridThe city of Milan is getting ready for the final of the UEFA Champions League as arch rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid compete for the coveted trophy on Saturday evening.

Majority of the Spanish fans are expected to start arriving by air, rail and road on Saturday. Fans already arrived in Milan are hoping that they would see an exciting match.

10-time European champions, Real Madrid have arrived their Milan hotel ahead of the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the first player off the bus and the Portuguese should be fit to play.

The Portuguese set alarm bells ringing on Tuesday when he ended training prematurely with a knock but was fit to train again the following day.

He has scored 16 goals in the competition this season.

Zinedine Zidane’s men are without defenders Raphael Varane and Alvaro Arbeloa for the game.

Meanwhile a crowd of Atletico Madrid fans gathered outside the Hotel Melia in Milan to also welcome their team as they arrived.

Atletico players briefly waved at a group of supporters, many dressed in the team’s jerseys and waving red and white flags, before entering their hotel.

While Madrid will be missing two players, Atletico have a clean bill of health.

It is a far cry from the dishevelled state in which Diego Simeone’s team arrived at the 2014 final, when they struggled with fitness after a long season and suffered key injuries.

The teams’ face off at the San Siro stadium is a repeat of the 2014 final in Lisbon which saw Real come from behind to win 4-1 after extra-time.

Champions League: Ronaldo Injury Scare Ahead Of Final

Champions League, RonaldoReal Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo says he will be fit to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday after limping out of training.

Ronaldo left the pitch with a thigh problem following a clash with goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

The Portuguese forward was seen showing his thigh to medical staff, receiving attention, he later described the injury as a minor scare.

“I had a small problem in the training session, a ‘sandwich’ (bocadillo) as they say in Spain. But tomorrow or the day after I will be fine,” he told reporters.

Ronaldo has not completed his last three training sessions.

Real Madrid boss, Zinedine Zidane has admitted that Ronaldo sat out a full training as a precaution.

“There will be no problem with that. We had a game among ourselves on Saturday and (Ronaldo) didn’t play, but (only) as a precaution as he felt something small.

“He is preparing for the final and I think we’ll be in good shape physically,” Zidane said.

Real Madrid Stars React To Champions League Final Qualification

Real MadridIn a repeat of the 2014 Lisbon final, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will meet each other at the San Siro on May 28 in the 2016 Champions League final.

Real Madrid beat Manchester City 1-0 to set up the all Spanish final for the second time in three seasons after a first-half own goal from Fernando was enough to secure a narrow win that barely reflected Real’s dominant.

It was a perfect night for Zinedine Zidane. He has just passed the four-month mark as Real Madrid coach and his team are now through to the Champions League final.

The Frenchman had the following to say about his team reaching the final in Milan; “I’m happy, not just for myself; it was a team effort. I’m happy for the players because what they did tonight was fantastic. We suffered because that always happens in semi-finals, but we’ve got through to the final and that is what is important for us.

“We won the game 1-0 and that shows that we had to dig in against a very strong side. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and can say that City didn’t do anything in the game. I think that they did a lot. We hardly allowed them any chances because we defended well and got things right tactically.”

On his part in the success; “I’m the coach of this team. For sure, I’m doing something right. But, it’s not just me, it’s down to everyone who works alongside me. The most important ones are the players, it’s them who allow us to enjoy the football.

“I love football and when I see them doing what they do, I’m happy. I suffer a bit more as a coach than I did as a player. I feel tense during the games. We’ve got to enjoy these moments.”

Important Goal

Madrid went ahead in the first half when Bale picked up Dani Carvajal’s pass and aimed a cross towards the far post that was deflected by Fernando past Joe Hart into the top corner.

He said of the goal that has been credited as an own goal, “The most important thing was to get the goal and that the ball ended up in the net. It doesn’t matter who scores it, the only thing that matters is that it was an important goal which has sent us through to the final. We’ve now got the chance to win another Champions League title”.

Other Real Madrid stars have also spoken about the victory and their expectations from Milan.

Left back, Marcelo said; “In the Champions League there is always a lot of tension, they are tough games. In every competition we play in, we try to do the best we can. It is difficult because they are tough competitions, but we are in the Champions League final and we have a very difficult game ahead of us. We are going into the end of season strong.”

Jesé says; “Last time I wasn’t in the final and now I have the good fortune and opportunity to be there and help the team. This year we deserve to win something and I’m happy.

“All madridistas want to win the Champions League and important things and now we have the opportunity. It is the product of months of work and in the final we have to fight till the last”.

Tough Season

Veteran defender Sergio Ramos considers it a very special night coming off a very tough season.

“After such a tough season, the hard work and the team’s togetherness means that we’re able to enjoy our second final in three years. We dug in and we worked together when we had to.

“The Champions League demands great concentration levels, we performed very well defensively and we put away the chance that we had. We must now enjoy this because it’s a special moment and it takes a lot of hard work to get to a final”.

“The team and the supporters deserve it. Once again, they got fully behind us and were our 12th man. We’ve now got to enjoy this and give our all in another final, we’ve already shown that we know how to win the final.

“It was a very special night for the Real Madrid fans and we’re really keen to bring the eleventh European title back home to our supporters.”

La Liga Quality

Cristiano Ronaldo, in his analysis of the semi-final win against Manchester City, tagged it a busy game.

“The team did well, we controlled the game and had more opportunities. We could have killed the game with a second goal and 1-0 is a small result but it is sufficient. We are in the final, which was our aim. We knew we needed to score and in the first game in Manchester we deserved to. Today as well, we were the better team and it is fair that we are in the final”.

“It is a final. We are facing Atletico again and I’m happy. This shows the quality of La Liga. I am very happy to be in the final and we still have a chance in La Liga.”

Ronaldo also had good words for the coach; “Zidane is doing a fine job. He is helping us and we are happy with his work. I admire him as a coach and as a person, and I hope that he stays with us.

“We have always been with him. He is a humble person, he likes to learn and listen to the players and it is very easy in this sense.”

Real Madrid will go in search of their eleventh European Cup title, against Atlético de Madrid at the San Siro.

It will be the fourth time that this stadium plays host to a European Cup final after the previous showdowns in 1965, 1970 and 2001.

It is the second time in the history of the European Cup that two sides from the same city face each other in the final. The first of these meetings was also between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

In a repeat of the final from two years ago, in which Real Madrid lifted the Décima in Lisbon, Zinedine Zidane’s men will be looking to win and claim their eleventh European Cup title.

UCL: Real Madrid, Manchester City Bosses Laud Players

Real MadridReal Madrid Coach, Zinedine Zidane, is pleased with his side’s 3-0 win against Wolfsburg at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Spain.

Zidane said that although it was a challenging match, he could not deny the fact that they did a good job.

“It is not easy to start how we did, scoring two goals in 15 minutes. We went in with a really high intensity (and) we showed the opposition that it was important for us to win and go through,” the French said on the club’s website.

He also commended the Whites’ messiah, Cristiano Ronaldo whom he described as the world’s best player, saying he was demonstrating what he is.

“What can I say about Cristiano Ronaldo? He is demonstrating what he is, the best player in the world. That’s what makes him a special player,” he said.

Manchester City Manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has also asked his side to go all the way in the Champions League after their historic 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).Manuel Pellegrini

Kevin De Bruyne fired city through to the last four of the league for the first time with his 76th-minute winner at the Etihad stadium.

As Madrid and City progress to the semi-final in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), Manuel Pellegrini could meet his city successor, Pep Guardiola should Bayern Munich beat Benfica on Wednesday.

UCL: Cristiano Ronaldo Hat Trick Sends Real Madrid To Semis

Cristiano RonaldoA hat trick by Cristiano Ronaldo ensured that Real Madrid would be playing in their sixth consecutive semi-final of the UEFA Champions League (UCL).

The Spanish giants had suffered a shocking 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg in Germany in the first leg but made the comeback that so many predicted in style.

Two quick goals in the first half put Zidane’s men on their way, although they had to endure some nervy moments as Wolfsburg tried to get a goal which could have changed the game entirely.

Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Toni Kroos whipped an inviting corner delivery in towards the near post, and he placed a perfect header beyond Benaglio.

With a sense of urgency, leaving no time to celebrate, the Portuguese was back again within two minutes. It was another header off a well delivered corner kick.

The second half resumed with Madrid still in the ascendancy and in the 77th minute, Ronaldo completed his hat trick with a trade mark free-kick.

In England, Manchester made it to the semi-final of the Champions League for the first time in their history with a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain.

Kevin De Bruyne scored in the 76th minute to send Manchester City into the Champions League last four with a 3-2 aggregate success.

They had secured a 2-2 draw in the quarter-final first leg in Paris a week earlier.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic did have the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside.