The 2021 NWSL draft was a monumental moment in the progression of soccer in the United States, particularly when it comes to young black girls and women. Five days before MLK day, not only were 2 of the top 3 picks black women but, the six black women selected in the first ten picks set a new NWSL record.
Cristiano Ronaldo 7 Most Clutch Games
No matter where you stand on the Messi, Ronaldo debate there is no denying Cristiano Ronaldo's clutch factor. Game after game, season after season, Ronaldo has shown up where it matters most and he did so again in the second leg against Atletico Madrid. Here's where it stands in CR7's seven most clutch performances.
2018 World Cup Group Stages
First game of the world cup against his Real Madrid teammates and one of the favorites to win the tournament. Ronaldo 3-3 Spain. Ronaldo secured a hat trick rounded off by a breathtaking free kick in the 88th minute to tie the game at 3-3. This would have been included in the top 7 but in the grand scheme of things the game had very little meaning as both teams would get knocked out in the Round of 16.
7. 2009 Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg versus FC Porto
United had tied the first leg at home 2-2. This meant United had to go to Portugal and either win the game outright or tie while scoring at least 3 goals. The issue was no British club had ever went to Porto and ever came away with a victory. The stage was set for Ronaldo.
Six minutes into the game Ronaldo responded by scoring what some consider to be his greatest goal ever. United would go on to win the second leg 1-0, becoming the first ever British club to defeat Porto, on route to reaching a second straight Champions League final.
6. 2014 World Cup Qualifiers versus Sweden
Portugal were in danger of missing out on the 2014 World Cup after finishing second to Russia in what was a relatively easy qualification group. This meant Portugal would have to play two legs against Sweden to see who would receive the final European spot for the World Cup.
Ronaldo scored in the first leg at home to give Portugal a 1-0 lead going to Sweden. 72 minutes into the second leg, Sweden were up 2-1 on the day thanks to two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimović. Portugal still had the aggregate lead on away goals but all Sweden needed was a goal in the final 18 minutes to go through to the world cup. Ronaldo would put those dreams to bed with two quick goals in the 77th and 79th minutes to give him the hat trick and Portugal a 4-2 aggregate victory with all 4 goals coming from Cristiano Ronaldo.
5. 2019 Champions League Round of 16 versus Atletico Madrid
This may ultimately rank higher on the list depending on if Juventus do go on to win the trophy that has long eluded them. You know the story by this point, Juventus went against their transfer policy this summer and spent big to secure Ronaldo with the sole purpose of winning the champions league. Things were not going to plan after they went down 2-0 to Atletico Madrid in the first leg. The game was controversial, Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone made lewd gestures during the celebration of the victory, while Ronaldo responded to taunting from fans of his former club's rivals by reminding them that he had 5 champions league trophies to Atletico Madrid's zero. Add to this rumors that Ronaldo had predicted he would score a hattrick in the second leg to knock Atletico out of the competition and the stage was set.
Ronaldo the clairvoyant. Ronaldo did exactly as he promised and recorded a hattrick to singlehandedly knock Atletico Madrid out of the competition. Making it the fifth time in six years that Atletico Madrid has been knocked out of the Champions League at the hands of a Cristiano led team. The ink is not yet dry on this season so for now this ranks at number 5.
4. 2016 Champions League Quarter Final versus Wolfsburg
Madrid were heavily favored going into the quarter finals of the 2015-16 champions league. They had cruised through the group stages and the first knockout round and were up against a Wolfsburg side that would finish 8th in the Bundesliga that season. However, things did not go to plan in the first leg as Wolfsburg came out of Germany with a shocking 2-0 victory.
Madrid needed answers and Ronaldo stepped up to the challenge with a hat trick reminiscent of the one he recorded for Juventus against Atletico Madrid. His three goals were all Madrid needed to go through to the next round on a 3-2 aggregate victory, crisis averted. Madrid would go on to win their second champions league in 3 years and the first of a historical three peat. None of that would have happened without this hattrick.
3. 2016 European Championships Group Stages versus Hungary
Everyone remembers Portugal's shocking upset of France in the 2016 Euro finals but few remember Portugal were almost knocked out in the group stages. Going into the third and final game of the group stages, Portugal were on two points and no goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, a loss meant Portugal would have no chance of making it out of the group.
After assisting the first goal to tie the game up at 1-1, Ronaldo took matters into his own hands after Hungary regained the league at 2-1. Despite tying the game up at 2-2 with a clever backheel, Hungary proved to be resilient and regained the lead at 3-2. Ronaldo would add another goal to give him 2 goals and 1 assist which gave Portugal the crucial point they needed to advance as a third placed team and the rest is history.
2. 2017 Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg versus Bayern Munich
Despite winning the first leg 2-1 away from home, Real Madrid found themselves in a dire situation after going down 2-1 at home in the second leg. Ronaldo scored earlier to give Madrid a lead on aggregate but a Sergio Ramos own goal made it 2-1 going into extra time. This meant all Bayern needed was one more goal and Madrid would have to score at least two more goals in extra time to win the tie.
Cristiano Ronaldo had other ideas. Ronaldo would add two goals in the 105th and 110th minutes to complete his hat trick which effectively ended the tie and sent Real Madrid to the semi-finals.
1. 2011 Copa Del Ray Final versus Barcelona
Ronaldo signed for Real Madrid in 2009 for a world record fee in what was suppose to be a sign of good things to come after the club failed to win a major trophy in the season prior. Fast forward two years later and Ronaldo had yet to win a trophy in his two years in Madrid and the club was on a three-year trophy drought.
Going into the final, Madrid were desperate for a win against Barcelona. Madrid were winless in the 6 El Clasico games since Ronaldo had joined the club, which included a 5-0 loss in the early stages of the 2010-11 season and a 3-1 aggregate loss in the semi-finals of the champions league later that same season. Madrid desperately needed a trophy and a win against Barcelona. Ronaldo took care of both with a towering header in the 103rd minute that would give Madrid a 1-0 victory at the end of extra time. This was Ronaldo's first trophy at the club and the first of many big moments.
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