Ronaldo the hero amid atypically awful performance

Cristiano Ronaldo overcame an uncharacteristically dismal individual performance to put Real Madrid on his back in Saturday’s Champions League final.

On a night when Ronaldo was far from his best, the stately Portuguese international thrived when it mattered, scoring the winning penalty as Real was in 11 heaven, lifting a record 11th European top-tier tournament over rival Atletico.

Penalties were needed after a cagey affair, and after Juanfran missed his attempt from the spot, up stepped Real’s all-time leading scorer.

Related: Real Madrid defeats Atletico Madrid on penalties, claims 11th European Cup

The result was never in question.

Carrying a thigh concern into Saturday’s final at the San Siro, Ronaldo was clearly laboured despite Los Blancos gaffer Zinedine Zidane’s claims that the star attacker was “100 percent fit.”

The first half was as much a display of Gareth Bale’s virtues as it was Ronaldo’s ailment, as the former Manchester United star made 16 successful passes in the opening 45 minutes, 15 of those were backwards or sideways.

Related – Watch: Ronaldo scores Champions League winning penalty

Ronaldo had six shots, three of which were on target and one key pass paired with 64 touches and three headers won. Of the seven Real outfield players who played the entire match, only centre-half Pepe had fewer touches (60).

Those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Six unsuccessful touches were twice that of any Real player and his 83.8-percent passing conversion was an underwhelming 10th-best.

While Ronaldo’s performance was second-worst only to that of Alicia Keys, when it mattered, he fired the winning penalty beyond a befuddled Jan Oblak.

Related: The 7 stages of Cristiano Ronaldo’s instantly iconic celebration

Anonymous for much of the 90 minutes and extra time, the Champions League’s all-time leading scorer and holder of the most goals in a continental campaign was himself just long enough to guide his side to the Undecima.

“I had a vision. I knew I was going to score the winning goal,” Ronaldo said after winning his third Champions League.

You’re not the only one.

Even with a performance where the 31-year-old appeared a shadow of himself, he scored the deciding goal, cementing his status as the Champions League’s most prolific scorer.

Ronaldo’s Champions League records:

  • Most goals scored in the Champions League (94)
  • Most goals scored in the Champions League season (17)
  • Most goals scored in the Champions League group stages (11)
  • Most goals scored in the Champions League knockout phase (42)
  • Most away goals scored in Champions League history (42)
  • Most consecutive Champions League away games scored in (12)
  • Most braces scored in the Champions League (20)
  • Most Champions League goals scored in a calendar year (15)
  • Only player to score 15 or more goals in two different Champions League seasons
  • First player in Champions League history to score three hat tricks in one campaign
  • First player to score 10 or more goals in four consecutive Champions League

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