‘Like me, he was trying to show his character’ – Simeone on Ronaldo ‘crotch-grab’ UCL celebration
Ronaldo struck three times in Turin on Tuesday night as he overhauled the 2-0 deficit from the first leg to put Juve into the Champions League quarterfinals.
After the game he pulled out the “crotch-grab” celebration in front of the Allianz Stadium home crowd, in a gesture mimicking Atletico boss Simeone’s own “cojones” move during the first leg in Madrid three weeks ago.
On that occasion, Simeone, 48, had grabbed his crotch after Atletico’s first goal, later explaining that he was showing that his team “had balls.”
UEFA took a dim view of the act, and later fined him $25,000, although he escaped a touchline ban.
Ronaldo didn’t forget the gesture, though, replicating it on Tuesday after the final whistle at a jubilant Allianz Stadium, having netted an incredible fourth hat-trick against Atletico.Also on rt.com Ballsy: Hat-trick hero Ronaldo trolls Simeone & Atletico with ‘cojones’ celebration (VIDEO)
But Simeone did not take offense, instead praising the Portuguese star as “the best in the world” and saying he had merely wanted to “show his character.”
"He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano [in Madrid] and, like me, was trying to show his character," he said.
"Ronaldo is the best in the world, he can put in these performances on big nights."
Ronaldo’s treble extended his record total of Champions League goals to 124, and meant he moved level with Lionel Messi on eight hat-tricks in the competition.Also on rt.com King Cristiano: The INCREDIBLE stats behind Ronaldo’s Champions League dominance
He is seeking to add to his haul of five Champions League titles, and help Juventus to put the pain of five losing finals behind them as the Italian giants aim to win Europe’s top club trophy for the first time since 1996.
The draw for the last eight is made on Friday, with either Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Lyon taking the final two spots in the hat, alongside the already-qualified Juventus, Manchester City, Manchester United, Porto, Ajax and Tottenham.