I have seen my fair share of “perfect hat tricks,” when a player scores with his right foot, left foot, and head. It’s a celebration of the various tools at the attacking footballer’s disposal. On Wednesday, I saw a “Ronaldo hat trick,” a free kick, long-range shot, and penalty. It was a celebration of him.
Real Madrid beat their in-town rivals Atletico Madrid on Wednesday 4-1, somewhat pumping the brakes on their downhill slide. Jose Mourinho’s team had drawn three of their last six La Liga matches, dropping points to Valencia, Villarreal, and Malaga, and allowing Barcelona back into the title race.
Real could not have been playing Atletico at a better time: The league leaders needed three points and they were playing a side that had not beaten them since 1999.
But in the end, though, Real Madrid did not need that statistic. They did not need history. They had Ronaldo.