Real Madrid goal hero Rodrygo celebrated like Cristiano Ronaldo after extinguishing Chelsea’s Champions League hopes, later revealing he did so out of self-preservation as much as inspiration.
A double from Brazilian forward Rodrygo gave Madrid a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday to carry Carlo Ancelotti’s team through to the semi-finals.
The 22-year-old Santos player took his tally to 15 goals in 37 games in the competition, of which just 19 appearances have been as a starter.
It was after his first goal that Rodrygo performed the signature Ronaldo ‘siu’ celebration, the jump and twist followed by a pose reminiscent of Madrid’s all-time record scorer.
He did it to spare a problematic knee any further aggravation, and as a tribute to the Champions League’s 140-goal leading marksman.
Rodrygo told Movistar: “First I thought about sliding on my knee, but I have inflammation, and then my idol, Cristiano, came to my mind and I did it.”
He added: “I hope to continue like this, scoring more goals and giving assists and winning the Champions League more times.”
Madrid await the winner of the tie between Manchester City and Bayern Munich, with the reigning English champions 3-0 ahead in that ahead of Wednesday’s second leg in Germany.
It could therefore be a repeat of last season’s semi-final, when Madrid came back from a 5-3 deficit in the dying stages of the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu to win in extra time.
On that occasion, Rodrygo’s late double – scoring in the 90th minute and then in stoppage time – sensationally kept the LaLiga giants in the tie before Karim Benzema’s penalty left City crestfallen.
A rematch would be an occasion to cherish, but Rodrygo said: “We don’t know if it’s against City. The Champions League is very difficult, we can no longer choose opponents and they are all difficult.”
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