'Ronaldo Is The UCL's Most Decisive Player'
'Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo Is The UEFA Champions League's Most Decisive Player'
While FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has been criticised following the Catalan club's shock UEFA Champions League exit on Tuesday, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has been hailed as one of the competition's most decisive players ever.
Messi and Ronaldo are always being compared to one another, and more fuel has been thrown on the fire after the Argentine and his Barca colleagues were knocked out of the UCL on Tuesday – a competition the Portuguese thrives in.
Many have since slammed Messi for going missing in the Blaugrana's two quarter-final legs against Roma, and former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves has now praised Ronaldo, comparing his influence at Real to Zinedine Zidane's during his playing career.
"There are a lot of people who rise to the top of their field but Ronaldo seems to thrive as the more important a game gets, the better he plays," he told BT Sport.
"Knockout phases, quarters, semis, finals... his scoring rate, even against Lionel Messi, is stunning. It shows how great a player he is.
"If Real play say Olympiakos, they'll beat them anyway, even if Ronaldo isn't playing. But I think the best, like Zidane, in his prime he would pop up with crucial goals in finals.
"You think back to World Cup finals and that Champions League final goal against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002.
"Ronaldo is similar. As good as he is, he seems to have an ability more so than anyone in the Champions League to play another step up from his natural game.
"I think that is a sign of true greatness, when the matches are tight, when the opposition is better, he always seems to produce in decisive games and that is a remarkable trait to have."
Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in nine Champions League games so far this season, and will be in action against Juventus in the second leg of their quarter-final clash on Wednesday night.
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