Ronaldo and Bale, stirring story of two predators

Ronaldo and Bale, stirring story of two predators

Ronaldo and Bale, stirring story of two predators

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in the 59-year history of the European Cup to score for two different winning teams when he netted Real Madrid's fourth goal in their 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Portugal captain also scored for Manchester United when they won the Champions League in 2008 in Moscow and capped an astonishing season with his 17th Champions League goal of this campaign at the Stadium of Light. His penalty conversion contrasted with his miss in the final shootout against Chelsea six years ago.

Ronaldo had already broken the European Cup record of 14 goals in a season established by Jose Altafini of AC Milan 51 years ago and by his rival Lionel Messi of Barcelona in 2011-12 and has now set a new benchmark in the competition.

Ronaldo, the FIFA World Player of the Year, has scored 52 goals in 51 Champions League games for Real and, together with his goals at United, has 67 in the European Cup in total. That ties him in second place with Messi, while both players are four goals behind Raul who tops the all-time list with 71.

"Ever since I arrived at the club I always felt ready for this moment. The pressure is making me a better player every day," he told reporters.

"The Decima (10th European Cup) is here now and with records broken along the way it's just awesome."

Ronaldo had not played since limping off with muscle fatigue eight minutes into the La Liga game against Valladolid on May 7 and came out wearing strapping on his thigh.

Although he was not as devastating as he can be, he still had a fine match, creating chances for himself and his team mates, and said: "It was worth taking the risk to play (after injury) - and we are the winners."

Ronaldo was enjoying very different emotions at the stadium than he did there a decade ago when Portugal surprisingly lost 1-0 to Greece in the final of Euro 2004.

Meanwhile, Welshman Gareth Bale, who put Real ahead with his header from close range in extra time, paid off another large slice of his world record price tag.

Despite the mind-boggling amounts of money Bale cost Real, his joy could not be counted in cash terms on Saturday as he marked the biggest night of his career so far with a vital contribution despite missing earlier chances.

"For me the price tag means nothing," Bale, with a Real scarf wrapped around his head, told Sky Sports. "If I came for a penny I wanted to play well and play in big  competitions and win trophies like we have this season and obviously the move has paid off."

Bale's 23rd goal of the season for Real, an impressive return which included six in the Champions League, arrived just when the Lisbon final looked to be heading for penalties.

"Thankfully I got a decisive goal. I was just thinking do not miss it. The celebrations from the fans means everything for me. It was an unbelievable feeling lifting the trophy, one you can't describe and it will be a memory forever."

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