CRISTIANO RONALDO hit back at his critics with a 35th career hat trick to send Real Madrid into the last four of the Champions League. His three goals were enough to reverse a 2-0 deficit from the first leg against Wolfsburg and prompted him to declare “goals are in my DNA” after the game, which took place on Tuesday April 12.
Madrid took the lead after quarter of an hour following some farcical defending from Wolfsburg, as a Dani Carvajal cross deflected off the leg of a defender and rolled past three others before arriving at the feet of Ronaldo, who gleefully slammed home.
Just 86 seconds later Ronaldo scored again with a header to level the aggregate score at 2-2. To cap a miserable 30 minutes for Wolfsburg, their playmaker Julian Draxler was then forced off due to injury.
The German outfit struggled to get out of their own half after the break, but it was not until Luka Modric was felled just outside the area that Ronaldo was able to rifle in a 77th minute free kick and complete a remarkable comeback for Real, who now face a sixth successive semi-final.
In the evenings other quarter-final, winger Kevin de Bruyne made the difference as Manchester City saw off Paris St Germain in a tense 1-0 encounter to reach their first Champions League semi-final.
The Belgian scored with a delicious curling shot after 76 minutes to seal a historic 3-2 aggregate win and send the home crowd into raptures.
The strike also saved Sergio Aguero’s blushes after he missed an earlier penalty, while Joe Hart made several outstanding saves.
It was the moment City have been waiting for ever since Sheik Mansour’s millions elevated the club into Europe’s elite, as they finally appeared comfortable on football’s biggest stage.
The other two quarter final second legs take place on Wednesday April 13, with both ties finely poised.
Atletico Madrid take on Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon trailing 2-1 from the first leg, while Benfica will attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit as they play Bayern Munich at home.