Ronaldo taunts Atletico after Juventus’ defeat
Portuguese superstar issues reminder of his five Champions League titles twice - on the pitch and at media zone
Cristiano Ronaldo was singled out by Atletico Madrid fans as Juventus lost 2-0 in the Champions League last 16, but the former Real Madrid forward was quick to point out his stellar record in the competition.
"I won five Champions Leagues and these guys zero," Ronaldo told reporters at the media zone after the game, flashing his palm to show a "five", before curling his fingers to form the shape of a "zero" to drive home his point.
The Portuguese forward also made the "five" gesture on the pitch at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, where he was jeered throughout the match yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Atletico got late goals from Uruguayan defenders Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin to take a vital lead into the return leg on March 12.
He responded to the taunts by holding up five fingers to indicate the number of times he had won the competition, once with Manchester United and four times with Real.
Atletico midfielder Koke had another take on Ronaldo's gesture. Calciomercato quoted the Spaniard as saying: "I don't know why Cristiano did that gesture, maybe he wanted to say 'hello' to someone."
Atletico have reached the final of Europe's elite club competition thrice but never lifted the trophy. They lost to Ronaldo's Real in 2014 and 2016.
After joining Juventus in the summer, Ronaldo had stated that his mission is to help the Italian giants clinch their first Champions League title since 1996.
But the 34-year-old is facing an uphill task to win his sixth Champions League crown after their first-leg defeat, which has placed immense pressure on Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.
Unbeaten in Serie A this season, Juventus have lost three of their seven Champions League matches and now face a huge task to overturn the deficit in Turin.
In four full seasons at Juventus, Allegri has led his team to four successive league-and-cup doubles and two Champions League finals.
In the past, Allegri has been the one giving the tactical masterclass, such as last season's last-16 match against Tottenham Hotspur when he turned the tie around by substituting both fullbacks at the same time.
Against Atletico, however, he was outfoxed by opposite number Diego Simeone.
Having earlier emphasised the importance of an away goal, Allegri's first surprise move was when he omitted right-back Joao Cancelo, even though the Portuguese has become one of Juve's most impressive attacking weapons this season.
Mattia de Sciglio, chosen in his place, was defensively solid but offered little going forward.
In the second half, while Simeone made three quickfire substitutions between the 58th and 67th minutes, Allegri waited until the 72nd minute to replace Miralem Pjanic with fellow midfielder Emre Can.
The later additions of Cancelo and Federico Bernardeschi - who nearly grabbed a precious away goal when his shot was turned away by Jan Oblak - were too little, too late.
Allegri admitted his side were caught out.
"We played a bad second half, making the mistake of going after them," he said.
"We got the approach wrong in the second half - it's that simple."
He also conjured up the odd excuse that Atletico have more experience in big matches.
"They are more used playing games of this type than us: they remained inside the game even if there were no big jolts, while we made mistakes.
"The 2-0 can be overturned, it is useless to cry on it."
If it's any consolation, Atletico's Diego Costa and Thomas Partey will be suspended for the return leg, but so too will Juventus defender Alex Sandro. - REUTERS