Ronaldo’s record-equaling eighth treble in Europe’s elite competition hauled Juventus back from a 2-0 defeat in the first leg in Madrid and sent the Serie A leader through 3-2 on aggregate, Reuters reported.
It was the fifth time the Portuguese forward had helped to knock Atletico out of the Champions League, having won the 2014 and 2016 finals against the Madrid club and beating it in the quarterfinals in 2015 and semifinals in 2017 with Real Madrid.
“Cristiano imposes his law,” said the front cover of Spanish newspaper Marca, while daily AS hailed Ronaldo, who is the leading goalscorer in the competition, as “the king of the Champions League.”
There was also a sense of regret that Real, which had a humiliating exit at the hands of Ajax Amsterdam last week, had allowed its all-time top scorer to leave for €103 million (£88.5 million) last July.
“Madrid should never have let a player like this escape, when he had a contract, was the all-time top scorer and one of the patrons of the four Champions League wins,” added Marca.
“They gave away a legend for €100 million. We just saw that Ronaldo is priceless. Letting him go was a historic error. Cristiano wasn’t worth €100 million, he was worth a billion.”
There was also criticism for Atletico’s negative tactics and its attempt to merely defend its lead. Diego Simeone’s side did not manage to have one shot on target in the 90 minutes.
“With Cristiano in the mood for a demolition and on one of those nights which make him the most ravenous and lethal striker in history, Juventus walked all over Atletico,” said El Pais.
“Simeone’s team fell the Italian way. They only wanted to defend, and they received a momentous beating.”
Atletico, which has lost three European Cup finals, had targeted reaching this year’s showpiece in its Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
Now its only focus is chasing down La Liga leader Barcelona, which has a seven-point advantage at the top of the Spanish top flight.
Midfielder Saul braced himself for criticism back home and gave a scathing assessment of his side’s display.
“We will get attacked from all sides and we have to face it,” he said.
“They were superior to us in every sense, we couldn’t even manage to kick them or foul them or show our character. We had space but we couldn’t cause their goalkeeper any danger. We lacked intelligence.”
Ronaldo’s remit was, in large part, to help the Turin club win the Champions League.
"This was why Juventus brought me here, to help do things that they have never done before," said Ronaldo, who has now scored 18 goals in his past 14 Champions League knockout appearances and has been directly involved in 76 goals in 77 knockout matches (62 goals, 14 assists).
"It was always going to be a special night and it was – not only for the goals but for the team.
"This is the mentality you need to win in the Champions League. We enjoyed a magical night. Atletico were a difficult team but we were strong too. We will see what will happen."
"The lads have shown great maturity," said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.
"They interpreted the game at their best, I have to congratulate them. This is what we wanted in the first leg.
"Tonight we were lucid, there was the risk of having a hysterical match, as if everything had to be done in 10 minutes."