Cristiano Ronaldo continued his love affair with the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, scoring his 90th goal in the competition proper as Real Madrid defeated Roma 2-0 to make it into the last eight for the sixth successive season.
“I’m happy,” he told UEFA.com after making a record 57th knockout stage appearance. “We achieved the objective that we set out to, which was to win and get into the quarter-finals. The side played well, we scored twice again and we’re delighted.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game. Roma also had their chances and could have scored one or two goals, but we also had a lot of opportunities. It was an even game in the first half, but in the second Real Madrid played better, created more chances and scored two very important goals.”
Indeed, the visitors were impressive early on – especially the electric Mohamed Salah. The Egypt winger was a constant thorn in the Merengues’ side as his pace and trickery enabled him to spring in behind on a number of occasions. However, he could not beat Keylor Navas in the Madrid goal.
The Costa Rica No1 has kept eight clean sheets in as many appearances in the UEFA Champions League and sits behind only Jens Lehmann in number of minutes played without conceding, a fact that was not lost on an impressed Ronaldo.
Real Madrid’s ‘top keeper’, Keylor Navas
“Keylor has been a crucial player from the start of the season,” he said. “In my opinion, he’s one of the side’s best players and is a top keeper. He’s playing very well and I’m made up for him.”
With the competition now reaching the business end, the Portugal captain, who scored in the final as Madrid won the trophy in 2014, insists the Whites are ready for whoever they are paired with in the next round.
“Who we get doesn’t matter. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” he said of the quarter-final draw, which takes place in Nyon on 18 March at 12.00CET. “There’s still a long way to go in the Champions League. We know that the quarters and semis will be even more difficult, but the team is ready.”