Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th Champions League goal for Real Madrid with the first of his two goals in Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain, making him the first player to score a century of UCL goals with one team.
The reigning Ballon d’Or winner converted a penalty just before half-time.
With a pop-up penalty and a bobbling rebound with his left knee Cristiano Ronaldo put Real Madrid in control of their Champions League showdown with Paris Saint Germain.
Despite spending another fortune in the summer PSG continue to be over-whelmed in the biggest European games. In the first 20 minutes they were poking sticks at the big beast at the Bernabeu. They recovered to take the lead through Adrien Rabiot but Ronaldo soon took over.
When Real Madrid won a penalty just before the break he put his standing foot down with such force that the ball lifted slightly from the spot as he sent it past Alphonse Areola.
He scored his second from substitute Marco Asensio’s cross, and Asensio set-up the third too for the inspired Marcelo.
Ronaldo certainly won his private duel with Neymar who was one third brilliance and two-thirds petulance. He is still king of Real Madrid – Gareth Bale didn’t even start the game – and on this showing he can stay king of the competition he has already won four times.
Madrid flew into the tackles early on and when one caught Neymar he went to ground theatrically, staying down long enough to rile a boisterous Bernabeu.
The Brazilian spent most of the first 20 minutes protesting to referee Gianluca Rocchi but he was soon yellow carded himself for a foul on Real Madrid defender Nacho – a scenario that was supposed to play out in reverse.
PSG seemed to be sinking in those early exchanges and Neymar’s response was to change his boots on the touchline. He had slipped in the area and the bright orange numbers were tossed aside. In the new footwear he glided past three Real Madrid defenders in the area but failed to spot the unmarked Edinson Cavani.
Madrid remained on top but fell behind on 33 minutes. Mbappé went down the right and crossed towards Cavani and Neymar. The latter tried to flick the ball back for Rabiot and with some help from Nacho’s clearance the ball reached the midfielder who finished past Keylor Navas.
Madrid were stunned but there was help at hand. PSG’s inexperienced midfielder Giovani Lo Celso had struggled throughout the first half and when he challenged Kroos the German went down and the referee pointed to the spot.
Ronaldo found the corner scoring his 100th Champions League goal in a Real Madrid shirt almost on the half-volley as the ball bounced up to meet his right boot.
At the restart Neymar risked a second yellow with more complaints to match official. And Ramos risked a penalty when he blocked a Rabiot shot with his arm.
On 67 minutes Bale replaced Benzema but it was another substitute, Asensio, who was to help win the game.
He crossed from the left and as the ball bobbled in the six yard box Ronaldo got the last touch to send it over the line. Asensio then crossed for Marcelo to get the goal his performance deserved.
‘Not for nothing has this club got 12 European Cups,’ said Zidane after the game.
‘We found our range in front of goal that in other games has been missing,’ said Ramos. Poor PSG. They had arrived in Madrid just as the Champions rediscovered their best.
‘We know that this is not over,’ added Zidane. ‘We take what happened last year as a warning of that.’
Valentine’s day last year PSG had beaten Barcelona 4-0 and they thought they were through. Now they fear they are out. They need to reverse the roles 12 months on but with Ronaldo once again the competition’s top scorer that is not going to be easy.