"Goals are in my DNA," concluded Cristiano Ronaldo after spearheading a famous Real Madrid comeback with a hat-trick to see off Wolfsburg and reach the Champions League semi-finals for a record sixth straight season.
The three-time World Player of the Year's self-appraisals are rarely humble. It is just six weeks since he called out his teammates for not matching his standards in a 1-0 defeat to local rivals Atletico Madrid. Yet, it was hard to argue with Ronaldo's logic as he snapped back at critics that his barrel load of goals haven't come when Real have needed them most. On the night coach Zinedine Zidane's admitted Madrid's season was "on the line," Ronaldo's treble overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit in a 3-0 win over the Germans. "Considering this has been a bad season for me it has not been that bad," he added after taking his tally for the season in all competitions to 46.
"People can criticize me, but I just keep on going and the numbers are there for all to see." The numbers are indeed spectacular. Ronaldo has now scored at least 45 goals in his last six seasons for Madrid. Three more against Wolfsburg on Tuesday made him the first player ever to score three hat-tricks in the same Champions League season. And he is now just one goal away from matching his own record of 17 in a Champions League season when Madrid ended a 12-year wait to win their 10th European Cup two years ago. "I am used to criticism. In Spain it is like this and it doesn't affect me. "I am still young, but these things don't affect me at 31."