Four-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo netted his seventh Champions League hat-trick as Real Madrid seized control of their semi-final clash by crushing city rivals Atletico in Tuesday's first leg.
A dominant Real put Diego Simeone’s perennially robust outfit to the sword as Ronaldo took his overall Champions League goal tally to 103 with his second successive treble, having netted three times against Bayern Munich in the last eight.
It was also the former Manchester United forward’s 42nd Real hat-trick, 52nd strike in the tournament’s knockout stages and his 13th in a semi-final, while his tally for Los Blancos across all competitions stands at 399 in 389 games.
“It was a total team match,” said Ronaldo. “We have a good advantage, but this is not closed. Atletico is very strong, they are not in the semi-finals by chance and we have to concentrate on Wednesday [in the second leg].”
Defeated Atletico boss Simeone struck a similar chord and refused to wave the white flag. He said: “Coming back from 3-0, I do not think it’s impossible. There’s a return match and we have our options.”
Real, who are bidding to become the first side to retain the Champions League since its rebranding in 1992, surged into a 10th minute lead when Ronaldo headed home a cross from Casemiro.
The 32-year-old lashed a second for the 11-time European champions, who registered a total of 17 shots, past Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak on 73 minutes and completed the rout in the latter stages by firing low past the Slovenia stopper.