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The side of Ronaldo we had forgotten


From the onset it had the writings of a big night! Images surfaced before the match, of the Real Madrid team bus, with thousands of cheering fans holding flares escorting them to the stadium. The Santiago Bernabeu’s rendition of ‘Hala Madrid’ would have matched Anfield’s ‘You’ll never walk alone’ on its best night. Wolfsburg’s unnerving was done!


On occasions like these it takes a hero to inspire and Madrid do not lack in that department. Hopes rested heavily on Zinedine Zidane and his men, but one player was determined to make it his night, for him, his team and the fans. Cristiano Ronaldo showed us a side of him that we all knew of, but couldn’t remember when we had seen it last.

Ronaldo ran the length of the pitch from attack to defence, rushed to take throws and the displeasure he often shows with referees and his own teammates was missing! Sergio Ramos may have had the captain’s armband, but Ronaldo lead the team on-field.


Madrid were on the attack from the whistle and every move forward was met with rousing approval from the stands. Wolfsburg were walking a thin line, eventually caving in the 15th min when a Dani Carvajal cross strayed across their box to land at Ronaldo’s feet. Past Diego Bengalio; 1-0 Madrid. The hosts won the ball back right after the restart and forced a corner within a minute of the goal. Ronaldo rose to connect Kroos’ delivery, past an outstretched, but not enough, Diego Benaglio in the Wolfsburg goal.

After switching ends, the Portuguese bagged his record-equalling fifth Champions League hat-trick with a free-kick that pierced the defensive wall to beat Benaglio at the near post. Ronaldo’s signature solo-celebration was replaced on the night by celebrations with the team. The camaraderie among the hosts looked rejuvenated and threatening.


While most thought that the Clasico would be a mere win in a season with no success to show, Madrid managed to strike fear and gain back their self-belief, which eventually helped them overcome Wolfsburg. How they use these wins to shape their season remains to be seen, but if the Ronaldo we saw last night, turns up every other night, there’ll be silverware for Madrid.



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