Football

Zidane hails 'unique' Ronaldo

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane hailed the "unique" talents of Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portugal attacker netted a hat-trick in the 3-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over city rivals Atletico at the Bernabeu yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Ronaldo moved onto 100 European goals in the quarter-final win over Bayern Munich, when he scored five times - including a treble in the second leg.

The Portugal forward again proved the man for the big occasion yesterday morning as holders Real moved within touching distance of another Champions League final appearance.

Zidane said: "Cristiano is a goal-scorer. He is unique.

"All the players were brilliant.

"I am lucky to have these players. We try to play our football and enjoy ourselves. It works because we have great players with great attitudes.

"We knew what we had to do from the off and we played the game we wanted to.

"Today Isco played as a No. 10 and was fantastic. We then had width with (substitutes) (Lucas) Vazquez and (Marco) Asensio.

"In a defensive sense we were brilliant too."

Real are bidding to win their third Champions League crown in four seasons.

Although they now have one foot in the final, Ronaldo was quick to warn his teammates against complacency.

He said: "We've now got a good lead, but there's still the return leg to come and the tie isn't over yet.

"Atletico are a very fine, strong side and it's not by chance that they're in the semi-finals.

"We'll have to be focused for next Wednesday's game."

- WIRE SERVICES

cristiano ronaldoZinedine ZidaneREAL MADRID