Cristiano Ronaldo eliminated 85 minutes of personal mediocrity in El Clásico with nine seconds of brilliance on the brink of full-time.
Ronnnnnaaaaaallllddddddooooooo. Comes in clutch. Always.— Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) April 2, 2016
Real Madrid never truly looked like winners until late in the second half. Barcelona peppered Keylor Navas and forced Los Blancos' defense to prove their worthiness on numerous occasions. Whether it was Luis Suarez's blown opportunity 10 minutes in, the arguable foul Leo Messi drew on the edge of the box or the fingertip save Keylor Navas produced to deny La Pulga; it appeared Real Madrid was simply dodging the inevitable.
In the end, it didn't matter how anything appeared. Cristiano lifted his club and rose to the occasion in a "big game" as Real Madrid emerged victorious.
While his finish was glorious to say the least, it's what Cristiano did before he corralled Gareth Bale's cross that set the stage for the wondrous conclusion.
Cristiano receives criticism at times for his lack of defensive effort however he never fails to showcase his pace and perserverance on the offensive end. While Dani Carvajal and Jesé attracted the attention of millions, including Dani Alves, Cristiano galloped down the seam. The Dark Invader was a blur as he bolted 40-yards to position himself perfectly to receive the rainbow pass from Bale.
Piqué stood oblivious to the far-post threat and Dani Alves simply found himself too far out of position. After chesting the ball down to his feet, Cristiano's plan never wavered: shoot.
Call him selfish or clutch, either way, moments like these are the reason why Real Madrid simply cannot offload the legendary No. 7. His confidence on the ball, his presence on the pitch and his ability to strike when the world least expects it earns him the right to pose nearly naked in the locker room with his teammates postgame.
VAAAAAAAMOOOSSSSS pic.twitter.com/wonvTV3nug— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) April 2, 2016