Madrid [Spain], Sept 15 : Explaining his subdued celebration against Sporting Lisbon, Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that he didn't celebrate his Champions League goal against his boyhood club as a mark of respect.
Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata's late strikes help Real avoid an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Sporting in their Champions League opener at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Sporting looked set to pull off a stunning upset victory over the reigning champions, thanks to Bruno Cesar's 47th-minute goal, but Ronaldo dampened his boyhood club supporters' spirits by curling in an 89th-minute free-kick.
"I couldn't celebrate against the team that formed me and for whom I have so much respect for," Ronaldo was quoted as saying by the Spanish sports daily Marca.
The Portuguese international lifted his hands apologetically towards the top of the north end of the stadium, where Sporting's fans had fallen quiet for the first time.
Three minutes later, substitute Alvaro Morata hammered the final nail in the coffin by heading in an injury-time winner to snatch victory from Sporting.
The 31-year-old, who made his professional debut at Sporting, shares a strong bond with his former club and it was reflected when he said, "It is a privilege that the people give me such love and I feel lucky that the president wants me to retire there, but I want to retire in Madrid because it is the club where I have my heart." Ronaldo also warned his teammates against complacency as Real took 89 minutes to draw level before snatching the win with another strike.