Real Madrid thrashed Atletico Madrid 3-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi final tie on Tuesday night
Los Blancos were heading into the game after an emphatic quarter final victory over Bayern Munich largely thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics, and the Portuguese phenomenon was at it again on Tuesday night as he scored a second consecutive hat-trick to lead Madrid to a commanding victory.
Atletico simply did not look like they were at the races and despite that, it did not look like Real would capitalise on their utter dominance. However, things soon changed as Ronaldo turned on the style to land a hat-trick and give his side a huge lead heading into the second leg.
Real are now overwhelming favourites to progress to the final of the Champions League and have a real chance of making history as the first team to win back-to-back Champions League titles. We take a look at the key talking points from the game.
King Cristiano reigns supreme in the Champions League
Cristiano Ronaldo has come in for criticism throughout his career – and in particular from his own fans this season – and has constantly been compared to Lionel Messi as the debate over who is greater rages on.
However, in the Champions League, Ronaldo reigns supreme. Granted, he has played more games than his Barcelona rival in Europe’s elite competition but that does not make his statistics any less astounding.
Ronaldo has scored 103 goals in the Champions League – the most from any player. Lionel Messi is second with 94. He has has scored more Champions League goals (103) than 113 of the 135 teams who have ever participated in the competition.
Since leaving Manchester United in 2009, Ronaldo has scored more goals in the Champions League by himself than both Manchester United and Manchester City combined. That is staggering when you think about it.
Jan Oblak was unfortunate
Jan Oblak was an unfortunate casualty of Ronaldo’s heroics last night but the Atletico Madrid keeper is perhaps the only player who will emerge from last night’s fiasco with any sort of credit despite conceding 3 goals.
Time and again, Oblak attempted to marshal his defense and the Atletico keeper made some excellent saves to keep Madrid at bay. However, there was no stopping Los Blancos last night. On another night, his performance might have gotten a lot more attention.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Oblak after the game 👏👏👏pic.twitter.com/Aoj0J0DnJF
— OMAR 👑 (@Omar__cr7_) May 3, 2017
Toni Kroos’ influence was a big factor in Madrid’s dominance
Toni Kroos’ performance might have gone under the radar in the face of Cristiano Ronaldo’s exploits last night but make no mistake about it, the German international was a big part of Madrid’s utter dominance on Tuesday night.
Kroos put in 3 tackles, made 2 key passes and completed the game with a 96% pass accuracy rate. The German made a 100 accurate passes throughout the match – the most of any player on the pitch – and also had the most touches of the ball in the entire match with 124 – 20 more than second-placed Luka Modric.
It was a brilliant performance from Madrid’s metronome and Zinedine Zidane will be hoping for more of the same from Kroos. When he is on song, Madrid’ midfield purrs and that is exactly what happened last night.
Can we talk about how good Kroos was tonight? The undercover soldier, doesn’t get appreciated enough but what a man.
— Ali (@RM_Insider) May 2, 2017
Atletico’s defensive weakness rears its ugly head again
Atletico have had a tough time defending set pieces this season and have been extremely weak at dealing with balls into the box. This was on show once more last night as Madrid constantly peppered their defense with crosses.
Simeone’s side looked nervy whenever they had to deal with balls into the box and that is how the opening goal was scored. They failed to clear their lines effectively and given that Madrid had a whopping 9 corners, it is no surprise that they caved to the pressure eventually.
The Atletico manager needs to sort out these issues immediately if he wants his side to progress if he does end up sticking around beyond the end of this season, or next season will tell a similar tale.
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) May 2, 2017
Griezmann anonymous but there is no reason to overreact
Antoine Griezmann was completely anonymous last night and the knives are sure to be out. Members of the press often gleefully give in to knee-jerk reactions and begin casting aspersions on a player’s big-game credentials after matches like Tuesday night’s but everyone would be wise to take a deep breath and relax.
Griezmann was definitely anonymous but given how utterly dominated Atletico were last night, that is no surprise – although the Frenchman himself wasn’t particularly helpful in that regard. Atletico simply could not get a hold of the ball and Griezmann was starved of service.
Even the greatest players have off games – just look at Ronaldo’s performance against Barcelona in the La Liga last week – and Griezmann simply had one last night along with the rest of his team, who quite simply wilted against Los Blancos.