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Ronaldo gives Juve money’s worth with 8th European hat-trick

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London: Juventus have never before overturned a two-goal deficit at home in European competition — but then they never had Cristiano Ronaldo leading their attack.

If the aim of buying the five-time World Player of the Year really was to make a difference on big Champions League nights it certainly paid off.

The 34-year-old got his eighth Champions League hat-trick, two headers and a late penalty, as Juve overturned a 2-0 last-16 first leg deficit against Atletico Madrid by winning 3-0.

 

“It was meant to be a special night and it was, not just for my goals but for the attitude we showed,” said Ronaldo.

“That is the sort of mentality you need to win the Champions League.

“This was why Juventus brought me here. To help do things that they have never done before,” he added.

It was all very different to the first leg where former Real Madrid forward Ronaldo was jeered by Atletico fans and the home side’s second goal took a deflection off him.

Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match against Atletico de Madrid at Allianz Stadium in Turin.

Angry at the barracking, the Portuguese replied by holding up five fingers to remind them of the five times he had won Europe’s elite club competition.

Ronaldo, who one year ago scored a memorable bicycle kick goal for Real at Juve in a Champions League match and was applauded off the field by the home fans in Turin, had also begun to look stale in recent Serie A matches.

But he was rested against Udinese on Friday and was raring to go.

Atletico, who had not conceded a goal in their previous four Champions League games, packed their defence believing they could shut Ronaldo out again.

They made no serious attempt to get an away goal which could have put a different complexion on the tie and paid the price With Federico Bernardeschi pumping crosses into the area, Atletico were never able cope with Ronaldo’s aerial threat.

“Atletico are a really tough team to face, but we are strong too and proved we deserved to go through,” said Ronaldo.


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Women’s football team better than men’s, says Chhetri

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New Delhi: The FIFA ranking says so and India football captain Sunil Chhetri too has no qualms in conceding that the national women’s team is better than the men’s side. The men’s team is currently ranked 103rd out of 211 countries, after being in the top-100 last year. The women’s side is currently 62nd out of 152 nations.

Chhetri, the poster boy of Indian football with second-most goals among active international players, praised the national women’s team for its fifth consecutive SAFF title win. “Extremely proud of all of you. I have always maintained that the women’s team is much better than the men,” Chhetri said.

The women’s team will feature in Round 2 of the Olympics qualifiers, which kick off in Mandalay in Myanmar on April 3.

 
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I will be first one to hang my boots when time comes: Yuvraj on retirement

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Mumbai: Yuvraj Singh’s cricketing future has been a topic of discussion for some years now but the player said he would be the first one to bid adieu when he felt that his time is up.

Out of national team’s scheme of things for good, Yuvraj has had a poor track record in the IPL but started on a bright note with a half-century for his latest franchise Mumbai Indians.

“When the time comes, I will be the first one to hang my boots,” Yuvraj told the media after MI’s 37-run defeat against Delhi Capitals in the IPL opener.

 

However, India’s 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup hero did admit that at times he felt indecisive about carrying on.

“The last two years, have been up and down (for me). And I could not decide on what to do,” said the 37-year-old.

Yuvraj said when on introspection, he found that he is still enjoying the game just as he did as an U-16 cricketer not thinking about national team selection.

“The main thing for me was why I played the game when I started off. I played the game because I enjoyed playing cricket. When I enjoyed playing cricket, I was not playing for India. I was playing for U-14s and U-16s. So till the time, I enjoy playing cricket, I am going to play.”

The veteran left-hander spoke to Sachin Tendulkar, who could relate with his situation as to how he felt when he was at the business end of his career.

“I have been speaking to Sachin (Tendulkar) as well and he has gone through that time when he was 37-38-39 (and how he felt). Talking to him makes things easier for me. And I am just playing because I enjoy playing cricket pretty much,” he signed off.

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Zidane is the right man for the Real Madrid job : Mourinho

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London: Jose Mourinho has said that he believes Zinedine Zidane is the right man for the Real Madrid managerial position.

Zidane was re-appointed as Madrid’s head coach earlier this month, just 10 months after he had resigned from the same position.

After Solari’s dismissal, many tipped Mourinho to return to the Santiago Bernabeu after he had been sacked as Manchester United boss in December.

 

Mourinho was Madrid’s manager from 2010 to 2013, but the Blancos instead opted to bring back three-time Champions League winner Zidane.

And Mourinho himself has now said that the Blancos made the right call, adding that the Frenchman is just getting started in his managerial career despite what he has already achieved.

“I do not think we can talk about a career for him yet,” Mourinho said of Zidane on Canal Plus.

“But in a very short time, he did what no one had done before, that is winning three consecutive Champions Leagues”.

“Now he is starting a new step in his career. He has to build a team, he has to make choices, buy players, sell them. He has to train them, give them his philosophy of play.

“I think he’s probably the best person for this club.”

Mourinho has not been shy about his desire to return to club management, and said this week he has already turned down a number of job offers.

The Portuguese said that he’s growing more eager to return every day.

“Day after day, I miss training. I’m not going to hide it,” Mourinho said.

“There’s something going on in my head, winning a fifth league and a new Champions League with a third club.”

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