Ron­aldo nets hat-trick in Madrid derby

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

REAL Madrid boss Zine­dine Zi­dane in­sisted he has no doubt Cris­tiano Ron­aldo will be the de­serv­ing win­ner of a fourth Bal­lon d’Or come Jan­uary, but his hat-trick in a 3-0 de­feat of Atletico Madrid on Novem­ber 19 may con­vince oth­ers.

Ron­aldo re­turned to haunt Atletico just five months af­ter scor­ing the win­ning penalty in Real’s sec­ond Cham­pi­ons League vic­tory over their city ri­vals in three sea­sons.

In the final La Liga derby at Atletico’s Vi­cente Calderon, Ron­aldo’s de­flected free-kick opened the scor­ing be­fore he dou­bled the lead from the penalty spot and com­pleted his 39th Real Madrid hat-trick with a sim­ple fin­ish from Gareth Bale’s fine cross.

“I never had any doubt. It is not his three goals that are go­ing to change my mind,” said Zi­dane on Ron­aldo’s case to be crowned the world’s best player for 2016.

“He showed it all last sea­son, he shows it in ev­ery game. There is so much ex­pected of him, but he is ahead of the rest.

“Three goals in a match like this may make ev­ery­one agree, but for me there is no de­bate. The Bal­lon d’Or will be his.”

Vic­tory ex­tends Real’s lead at the top of La Liga to four points from Barcelona, who missed the ill Lionel Messi in a 0-0 draw at home to nine-man Malaga ear­lier on Novem­ber 19.

Madrid are now un­beaten in 29 games in all com­pe­ti­tions stretch­ing back to April, but this was Zi­dane’s men’s best dis­play in that run.

The per­for­mance was even more im­pres­sive given Madrid were miss­ing six key play­ers through in­jury.

How­ever, those ab­sences forced Zi­dane to change his sys­tem to dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect with Ron­aldo play­ing as a cen­tre-for­ward and the out­stand­ing Isco in his nat­u­ral role just be­hind the Por­tuguese.

“I am left with Isco’s per­for­mance, he was phe­nom­e­nal. In the first half he didn’t lose a sin­gle ball,” added Zi­dane.

“That po­si­tion is his po­si­tion and with him be­hind Cris­tiano we were very well bal­anced.”

How­ever, Zi­dane re­fused to ad­mit Ron­aldo would be re­tained as a cen­tre-for­ward once Karim Ben­zema and Al­varo Mo­rata are fit again.

“He is com­fort­able in that po­si­tion and we know that, but we will see what hap­pens in the com­ing games.”

A third league de­feat in four games leaves Atletico’s ti­tle cre­den­tials hang­ing by a thread.

Diego Sime­one’s men slip to fifth and are now a mas­sive nine points adrift of Real.

“Above all in the first-half they were bet­ter than us,” ad­mit­ted Sime­one.

“For the first 20 min­utes of the sec­ond half we cre­ated chances, played in their half and con­trolled the game, but then came the penalty which took the wind out of our sails.

“It is clear that we need to find bet­ter so­lu­tions for the play­ers to im­prove and main­tain that 20-minute spell in the sec­ond half.” –

Photo: AFP

Ref­eree To­bias Stieler (cen­tre) breaks up a scuffle be­tween Dort­mund’s Columbian striker Adrian Ramos and Bayern Mu­nich’s French mid­fielder Franck Ribery dur­ing the Ger­man first di­vi­sion Bun­desliga foot­ball match be­tween Borus­sia Dort­mund and FC Bayern Mu­nich in Dort­mund on Novem­ber 1.

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