MADRID (AP) – It had been a quiet season for Cristiano Ronaldo. Until he faced Bayern Munich.
He was being outshone by the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar both in the Spanish league and in the Champions League.
He hadn't been scoring a lot of goals and was even jeered at times by Real Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
But things quickly changed in two decisive games against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals, when the star forward scored five goals to keep alive Madrid's hopes of retaining the trophy.
Ronaldo had scored only two goals in the eight Champions League games he had played before the quarterfinals. He came into the series against Bayern in a scoring drought of nearly seven months in the European tournament, and had scored only once in his last five Madrid games in all competitions.
In the Spanish league, Ronaldo's 19 goals leave him five behind Suarez and 10 behind Messi.
Ronaldo scored a ''perfect'' hat trick on Tuesday, with his head, right foot and left foot, as Madrid defeated Bayern 4-2 after extra time to advance to the semifinals 6-3 on aggregate. Replays showing at least one of the goals was offside didn't puncture his happiness.
The Portugal forward had scored both goals in Madrid's 2-1 first-leg win in Germany last week.
The hat trick made him the first player to score 100 Champions League goals.
Ronaldo scored Madrid's goal with a header, then put the team in control in extra time with a close-range shot in the 105th minute. He netted again from inside the area after a breakaway in the 110th to secure his club a place in the semifinals of the Champions League for the seventh straight season.
Ronaldo was cheered by the crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium after the match, with fans loudly chanting his name, but he took the opportunity to send a message to those who had criticized him recently.
If he keeps playing the way he did in the two games against Bayern, he likely won't have to worry about being jeered anymore.
Also read: Arsenal to play Real Madrid twice this year