By 90Min
March 13, 2019

Cristiano Ronaldo

It's been the name on the tip of every football fan's tongue in every office, factory or farm (or wherever else people work) in the past 24 hours. 

It's been the name tweeted over 1.08 million times in the past 24 hours. 

It's been the name at the end of every utterance of 'how ridiculously good is...' in the past 24 hours. 

And after CR7's remarkable hat-trick in Juventus' comeback win over Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night, it's easy to see why. 

Cristiano Ronaldo's performance was astonishing. His second goal in particular, was mind blowing. But, despite all of this, Ronaldo wasn't Juve's real hero on the night.

For while Ronaldo has earned the plaudits and praise for 'SINGLE HANDEDLY DUMPING ATLETICO MADRID OUT OF THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE', there's another player that deserves recognition for his incredible performance at the Allianz Stadium.

That player is Federico Bernardeschi - the real hero of Juve's stunning Champions League comeback. 

Like his inclusion in the starting XI ahead of Paulo Dybala did, the aforementioned statement will raise a few eyebrows. 

As in 'how could a man who scored zero goals be called Juve's hero ahead of a man that scored three goals? Surely that's just bad maths?'

However, although Bernardeschi didn't score, he did do pretty much everything else. For 95 minutes on Tuesday night, the Italian international was seemingly omnipresent on every TV, laptop, mobile phone and tablet screen across Europe. 

By harassing the Atletico Madrid backline when Juventus lost possession, and providing a potent creative outlet on the flanks when Juventus were in possession, 'Berna' was exactly what I Bianconeri had been crying out for following a lethargic display at the Wanda Metropolitano last month - he was a driving force. 


A driving force that would drag a usually cagey and pragmatic Juventus team out of its shell, and into the promised land of the UEFA Champions League quarter finals. 

MARCO BERTORELLO/GettyImages

The importance of the 25-year-old's tireless effort and genuine quality were best exemplified in the dying embers of the game. 

In the 86th minute, with the sides locked level on aggregate, with the rest of his teammates wilting through exhaustion, Bernardeschi would summon the strength to mount one last offensive front. 

'Berna' burst past Santiago Arias on the halfway line, and proceeded to race down the left flank. Then with a shimmy and feint, the Italian international weaved past Angel Correa (the ever hapless Correa) and into the penalty area, where he was to be chopped down. 

Bernardeschi won a penalty kick. A penalty kick which Ronaldo would rifle into the the bottom left corner of the net. 

Bernardeschi had done all of the hard work. But it was Ronaldo who would write the headlines.

For those who watched the game however, it wasn't just Ronaldo's performance that stood out - as that was weirdly expected - rather, it is how unexpectedly brilliant Bernardeschi was that will live long in the morning.  

The performance was surprising proof that Federico Bernardeschi is world class. 

Proof that he is one of Juventus' most important players.

And, most importantly, proof that at Juventus, not all heroes are called Cristiano Ronaldo. 

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