Cristiano Ronaldo has hit back at his critics after an astonishing 35th career hat-trick fired Real Madrid past Wolfsburg in their Champions League quarter-finalon Tuesday.
Although he has amassed 46 goals in all competitions this season and is top scorer in the Champions League and La Liga, Ronaldo attracted criticism earlier in the campaign for not performing in the biggest games. The Portugal forward even walked out of a news conference in February after facing difficult questions.
“Considering this has been a ‘bad’ season for me it has not been that bad,” Ronaldo said after his hat-trick led Real to a 3-0 second-leg win, securing a 3-2 aggregate victory.
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“People can criticise me but I just keep on going and the numbers are there for all to see. I am very happy and with a month left of the season I can get even better.
“It was not the best, but one of my best, European nights. It’s not bad is it? Goals are in my DNA and I want to keep scoring them for the team.”
Ronaldo has 16 goals in the Champions League this season and is on track to break his record of 17 set when Real won the competition in 2013-14. He managed an all-time high of 11 goals in this season’s group stages and against Wolfsburg scored a fifth Champions League hat-trick, matching the record of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Zinedine Zidane was full of praise for his striker. “What can I tell you about Cristiano?”, said the Frenchman. “He is demonstrating how good he is.
“He is the best player in the world and nights like tonight make him a special player. Cristiano needs the whole team too but not everyone can score three goals in a game. He makes the difference.”