Real Madrid, led by the heroic effort of Cristiano Ronaldo, completed a memorable comeback in front of a roaring Bernabeu tonight to advance to the Champions League semi-finals. Here are a few things we noted..
- The first point has to go to Ronaldo, without question. There are some performances in the Club's history that will remain timeless, immortal, and edged into the Bernabeu's memory forever - this was one of those performances. He was on another level tonight to everyone else on the pitch. Ronaldo had decided before the match was over that Real Madrid would go through to the semi-final, and he did whatever was necessary to edge Real Madrid to the promised land. Forget, by the way, that his hat-trick was other-worldly; but his work-rate was also exemplary. He was sprinting forward to press rabidly, and sprinting back to defend. His name was chanted around the Bernabeu - deservedly so.
- There were plenty of question before the game surrounding the Casemiro / James debate for this one. For me, it was a no-brainer - Casemiro had to get the nod. Zidane wisely approached tonight as a normal game that required stability, and it worked perfectly. Real Madrid needed to keep a clean sheet tonight while attacking systematically. Casemiro was everywhere in this game - and I mean that in a good way.
- Luka Modric, man. Just phenomenal. Demanding the ball all game while imposing his authority in the midfield.
- Dani Carvajal's dynamism created the first goal, while his attacking prowess forced the corner which led to Ronaldo's header. He deserves huge praise.
- I'm nitpicking here, since tonight is a huge reason to celebrate, but Marcelo's defensive effort was terrifying all game. Any slight feint of the shoulder from any given Wolfsburg player sent him into a ballet dance.
- Again, nitpicking, but I would have liked to see Gareth Bale roam to the left more than he did to get more involved. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.
- Real Madrid now go into the semi-finals of the Champions League brimming with confidence while feeling rejuvenated in the league - what a turnaround from a month ago.