KEIR RADNEDGE in CARDIFF: For Cristiano Ronaldo it just keeps getting better and better. That was his own verdict as he collected yet another man of the match award following his two-goal extravaganza in the Champions League Final.
Ronaldo struck Real Madrid’s first and third goal as they raised their game magnificently to quell Juventus 4-1 in Cardiff. His latest strikes took his Champions League tally for the season to 12 and 106 in all. His season 42nd and 43rd goals of term all lifted his all-time career total to an astonishing 601.
As a byproduct, Ronaldo’s latest sprinkling of superstardust on the world game probably also secured him the next FIFA player of the year prize to add to the four he has already stored in his museum in Madeira.
Earlier in the season concerns were raised that Ronaldo was no longer the player of former years, that he was absent too often. That was merely coach Zinedine Zidane taking good care of Madrid’s prize asset for the greatest battles to come.
The strategy has been rewarded in the last fortnight with a Spanish and Champions League double.
Ronaldo, after accepting his match prize from old mentor Sir Alex Ferguson, said: “We have a team that is fantastic so I prepared myself to be at my best in the final phase of the league season and the Champions League and I scored important goals so I’m very happy indeed.
“It was a very balanced game. In the first half Juventus played very well but in our second half was impressive. Our midfield were very good, our defence played further up and the goals came as a natural result. It was the best second half that Real Madrid have played this season.
“The Champions League is always difficult to win so our great achievement was to score four goals against a team who had conceded only three in the competition all season.”
Madrid’s season has reached a triumphant conclusion but Ronaldo’s campaign goes on.
He said: “Now I have maybe two or three days off and then I have a World Cup qualifying game for Portugal and then the Confederations Cup. It’s a long season but I’m so motivated I feel like a young boy.
“It’s been an amazing season, again we have won important trophies and it’s one of the best moments in my career. It seems I keep saying that every year!”