Sports Football 12 Mar 2019 Spotlight on Cristia ...

Spotlight on Cristiano Ronaldo as Juventus host Atletico Madrid

AFP
Published Mar 12, 2019, 1:54 am IST
Updated Mar 12, 2019, 1:54 am IST
The 34-year-old’s stunning overhead kick for Real in the quarter-finals in Turin last April had dumped Juventus out of the tournament once again.
Cristiano Ronaldo
 Cristiano Ronaldo

Turin (Italy): Juventus’ Champions League hopes are hanging on Cristiano Ronaldo pulling off another sensational comeback as the Italians trail 2-0 to defensive specialists Atletico Madrid going into the last 16, second-leg tie in Turin on Tuesday.

“We didn’t expect to lose the first leg 2-0, but anything can happen, and we want to give a great response in our home, in front of our fans,” Ronaldo told Juventus TV ahead of the game in the Allianz Stadium.

 

“These are the great nights, the fantastic ones: the Champions League nights,” he continued.

“The team is confident of playing a great game and I am too. To the fans I say: think positive, let’s believe.

“Get ready to come back!”

The seven-time reigning Italian champions bought Ronaldo last summer from Real Madrid for 100 million euros to end their Champions League heartbreak going back 23 years.

The 34-year-old’s stunning overhead kick for Real in the quarter-finals in Turin last April had dumped Juventus out of the tournament once again.

 

Expectations are high that he can reproduce his improbable hat-trick which lifted Real Madrid past Wolfsburg in April 2016 with the Spaniards 2-0 down to the Germans after the first leg.

Juventus have come from behind in the elite European competition eight times — including in the 1996 quarter-finals against Real Madrid on their way to winning the title.

Ronaldo won five Champions League titles with Manchester United and Real Madrid and has scored a record 121 goals of which 57 have proved decisive.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico — second in La Liga — have not conceded a goal for five games.

 

“Everyone knows that they are a strong team, they defend very well, they don’t take a lot of risks and they play on the counter-attack, but we are ready, and we will do everything we can to beat them,” said Ronaldo, who has scored 22 goals against Atletico.

“The fine details will make the difference, and we want to win and qualify for the quarterfinals.”

Chelsea face Schalke

In Berlin, Schalke travel to Manchester City for Tuesday’s last 16 second leg with head coach Domenico Tedesco barely hanging onto his job and confidence at rock bottom.

 

City needed late goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling to win the first leg 3-2 in Gelsenkirchen three weeks ago when the Germans shrugged off dreadful league form to produce a battling display.

However, Schalke’s fortunes have nose-dived since, leaking 11 goals in three heavy defeats to leave them four points from the Bundesliga relegation places.

Tedesco, 33, has been told he has two games to prove himself.

Schalke’s new sporting director Jochen Schneider says only good performances at City and home to third-placed RB Leipzig next Saturday can save Tedesco.

 

Man City have won their last nine games at the Etihad Stadium, but the Schalke squad are hoping for an unlikely away victory and want Tedesco to stay on.

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