Search icon


13th Apr 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo provides more evidence (if needed) that he is no flat-track bully

We have the stat to prove it

Mikey Stafford

The best players do it on the biggest stages.

Time and again, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have shown why they are the two greatest players of the modern era – because when a game needs to be won, no matter the opponent, they come up with the goods.

We’ll leave the tedious debates over who is better to the fan boys – we like them both. But you have to admit, this week belongs to Ronaldo.

While Messi was threading inch-perfect passes to his team-mates only to be frustrated by the brilliance of Gianluigi Buffon in Barcelona’s defeat to Juventus, his Portuguese rival was breaking records and hitting milestones.

Real Madrid came back from 1-0 down in the Allianz Arena to defeat Bayern Munich 2-1 and place one foot in the semi-finals. Having gone 659 minutes without scoring in the Champions League, it was Ronaldo who scored a brace for the defending champions.

Class truly is permanent, as was particularly evident with the ludicrous volleyed finish he applied to Dani Carvajal’s magnificent cross. So many superlatives, all merited.

While his second goal was slightly more straightforward, the stabbed finish brought up a significant milestone – Ronaldo’s 100th Champions League goal. He netted 16 for Manchester United before his move to the Bernabeu, where his scoring rate has gone through the roof.

The man is a phenomenon – 100 Champions League goals in 143 games, compared to Messi’s 97 in 118 games. He could add a fourth European Cup to his CV and, at 32, while he may not possess the same explosiveness he did in his twenties, he is displaying an intelligence and efficiency that makes his prediction of playing with Real until he is 40 just slightly less ridiculous.

Given his longevity and supreme fitness, perhaps reaching 100 Champions League goals in 143 goals is not the most impressive milestone Ronaldo hit last night.

What should not be overlooked is those two goals came at the Allianz Arena against a Bayern side that had beaten Borussia Dortmund 4-1 at the weekend to move 10 points clear of RB Leipzig at the top of the Bundesliga.

Two goals against perennial European favourites in their intimidating Munich fortress… that is just old hat to Ronaldo at this stage.

This is a player who does it against the best on a consistent basis. While he may make hay against the Malmos and Schalkes of this world, the Euro 2016 winner is also more than capable of scoring against the best when it really counts.

It is worth bearing in mind, with 16 goals, he is the third top scorer in Clasicos behind Messi and Alfredo di Stefano. The two Spanish superpowers clash in La Liga on April 23rd at the Bernabeu.