Real Madrid goal hero Rodrigo celebrated like Cristiano Ronaldo after extinguishing Chelsea’s Champions League hopes, it was later revealed he did so out of self-preservation rather than inspiration.
Brazilian striker Rodrigo’s brace gave Real Madrid a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday to take Carlo Ancelotti’s side to the semi-finals.
The 22-year-old Santos has scored 15 goals in 37 games of the tournament, of which only 19 started.
It was after his first goal that Rodrigo performed Ronaldo’s signature “Sioux” celebration, a jump and turn followed by a pose reminiscent of that of Madrid’s all-time record holder.
He did this to keep his problem knee from getting worse and as a tribute to the Champions League’s top scorer with 140 goals.
Rodrigo told Movistar: “At 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, to score more goals, provide assists and win the Champions League more times.”
Madrid are waiting for the winner of the match between Manchester City and Bayern, where the defending champions of England were leading 3-0 ahead of the second leg in Germany on Wednesday.
So this could be a repeat of last season’s semi-final when Real Madrid pulled back 5-3 in the last leg of the second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu to win after extra time.
On this occasion, a late brace from Rodrigo – a goal in the 90th minute and then in stoppage time – sensationally kept the La Liga giants to a draw before Karim Benzema’s penalty sent City into a dejected fall.
A rematch would have been an excuse, but Rodrigo said: “We don’t know if City is against it. The Champions League is very difficult, we can no longer choose opponents, and they are all difficult.”