Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Madrid for the first time since leaving Real Madrid, where he won four Champions League titles, but it was to face Atletico Madrid. On a night where he failed to find the back of the net, Ronaldo reminded Atleti fans of his exceptional record in the UEFA Champions League. At full time, the Spanish club beat Juventus 2-0 in the first leg of the last-16.
On the pitch he seemed to gesture a ‘five’ at the fans as he remained on the receiving end of jeers throughout the 90 minutes. At the end, as he went past the mixed zone of reports, he gestured a five and a zero while saying, “I won five Champions Leagues and these guys zero,” to drive home his point.
— El Larguero (@ellarguero) 20 February 2019
“Cristiano pay your taxes,” remained one of the repeatable chants at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. The chant stems from the case against the Portuguese for dodging taxes in Spain between 2010 and 2014. In January he cut a deal with a court for the tax evasion charges and accepted an €18.8m fine.
Even as Ronaldo had a personal ego boost, his Juventus side will be under pressure for the second leg after Atletico edged in the first. Late goals from Uruguayan defenders Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin gave the Colchoneros a vital lead going into the return leg on March 12.
Ronaldo has won the UEFA Champions four times with Atletico’s cross town rivals Real Madrid and once with Manchester United.
Atletico have reached the final of Europe’s elite club competition three times but never gone on to lift the trophy. They lost to Ronaldo’s Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016.