Football

Tributes pour in after Ron’s stunner

Zidane: Cristiano's bicycle-kick strike one of the most beautiful goals in history

Cristiano Ronaldo's stunning overhead bicycle kick in Real Madrid's 3-0 win over Juventus prompted praise from both teammates and rivals alike.

The 33-year-old superstar became the first player to score in 10 consecutive Champions League games just three minutes into their quarter-final, first leg in Turin yesterday morning (Singapore time), but it was his second goal that everybody will remember.

The Portuguese surpassed himself with a breathtaking overhead hit from inside the box .

"One of the most beautiful goals in the history of football," said Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

It took him only two minutes and 47 seconds to open the scoring in Turin, flicking in Isco's cross.

But the jeers of the home fans turned to applause and earned him a standing ovation after 64 minutes when Dani Carvajal crossed back into the area where Ronaldo connected with an outrageous bicycle kick.

"Cristiano does things sometimes that only he can do," said Zidane. "It can be said that it is one of the most beautiful goals in the history of football.

"It's maybe not as beautiful as mine in Glasgow," joked Zidane of his volley against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002 that gave Real their ninth Champions League title.

"I'm the coach but I'm also a football fan, when I see something like that... that's why Ronaldo is different from others because he can do that kind of thing."

Ronaldo has scored 16 goals in his past 10 Champions League games - 14 goals this season and two against Juventus in last year's final. He holds the record for Champions League goals with 119.

"The Juventus fans applauded Ronaldo and also his team," said Zidane. "It's beautiful. You don't see that everywhere."

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri also paid tribute, saying: "I don't know if Ronaldo's goal is the best in football history, but it's really an extraordinary goal.

"The applause is a beautiful lesson from the Juventus fans to the whole world, football is a show, when you have 22 or 30 high-level players and, you see a shot like this, it's good to applaud."

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was gracious even when the defeat almost certainly means the end of his Champions League-winning dreams.

"We saw what Ronaldo is and always has been - a player of an extraordinary level who along with Leo Messi is achieving the greatest heights," said Buffon.

His teammate Andrea Barzagli lamented: "When you play against one of the best players in the world, like Cristiano Ronaldo, you need perfection, if you leave space he punishes you, and then he invented a goal that will remain in history."

Basketball star Lebron James published a photo on Instagram of the goal and MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez, a Barcelona fan, tweeted: "Bufff what a great goal for CR7!!!".

Former Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who just scored two goals on his debut for LA Galaxy, said on ESPN: "It was a nice goal, but he should try it from 40 metres."

There was also humour from English forward Peter Crouch, who once scored a similar goal for Liverpool. He tweeted: "There is only a few of us who can do that." - AFP

Football