With his exploits in the year 2018, Cristiano Ronaldo has left all of his peers – including Lionel Messi – behind.
Here is a warning: Cristiano Ronaldo should never be written off. This is because the Portuguese always comes back to prove his critics wrong.
Ronaldo and Real Madrid had a poor start to the season, with Los Blancos having a run of mediocre results and their talisman failing to see the back of the net in some games. To add to that, their eternal rivals Barcelona were flying on top of the La Liga table.
Criticism started flying in as many soccer fans scrutinized the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for not being able to help his team in those moments. Some branded him a terrible player while others claimed he was past his prime.
However, fast-forward four months into the season, and Ronaldo has been the best player in 2018. The Portuguese superstar is back to his enthralling best, and has proven that he remains the man for the job with his stellar performances, especially in the big games.
His performances since the turn of the year have placed him on a level of his own. He has done things that are quite peculiar to his name and not reproducible by anyone.
Let us quickly look at six things that only Ronaldo has done this season:
#6 Scoring In All UEFA Champions League Group Stage Matches
Okay, now let us start with this. Even though the Madrid attacker had a slow start to the domestic season, that wasn’t the case in the UEFA Champions League.
While he was having problems scoring in La Liga early on, he was seeing the back of the net more consistently in the UEFA Champions League.
He proved to the world that he is truly the king of the competition by scoring in all of the group stage matches of the tournament.
No one has ever done that in history! Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia all tasted the wrath of one of the greatest forwards ever, both at home and away.
He scored an amazing nine goals in the group stages. Such is the greatness of the Real Madrid talisman.
#5. Scoring three or more goals against three different clubs in the UCL
The Champions League seems to be Ronaldo’s favorite competition. He has been the most consistent performer in the tournament this year. His excellent goal-scoring exploits have taken him to another level as he keeps breaking record upon record.
So far, the Portuguese superstar is the only footballer who has scored three or more goals against three different clubs in the tournament this season. He scored three goals against Borussia Dortmund and four against Apoel Nicosia in the group stages before finally scoring three as Real Madrid knocked PSG out of the competition.
This is a big achievement especially if you consider the quality of players in the Champions League this season. His closest rivals are Harry Kane (Apoel Nicosia – 3, Borussia Dortmund – 3), Edinson Cavani (Celtic FC – 3) and Robert Lewandowski (Besiktas FC – 3).
#4. Scoring 10+ goals in the UCL
The UEFA Champions League is definitely the biggest stage in club football. And Ronaldo has proven himself to be the biggest footballer on the planet by continuously reaffirming his stature in this tournament.
His performance in the Champions League this season has been nothing short of amazing. The Portuguese is the only person to have scored over 10 goals in the competition this term. His closest rival on the list is Wissam Ben Yedder, who has eight goals to his name.
The likes of Neymar Junior, Lionel Messi, Edinson Cavani, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Sergio Aguero all trail behind the Los Blancos superstar.
Ronaldo’s 14 goals in nine matches this season definitely emphasize his status as the finest player the Champions League has seen. In such amazing form, Real Madrid could go on to defend the trophy again.
#3. Most calendar year goals so far
As we entered the New Year, Ronaldo entered his peak. The winger has been doing great things since the turn of the year – scoring goals freely, tearing opposition defenses apart and claiming important victories for his team.
2018 has been a fantastic year for the attacker to say the least. He is the only player to have scored 23 goals in this calendar year.
The Portuguese started this run with a nice hat-trick against Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabéu, followed by an impressive brace against PSG in the UEFA Champions League. In the next La Liga match, he scored again away from home to notch a victory against Real Betis, at the Benito Villamarín.
Since then, he has only become stronger. In his latest game, he destroyed Juventus by scoring an amazing brace as Real Madrid claimed a 3-0 victory over the Italians.
#2. Most penalty goals so far
This is probably why some people call him Penaldo. The Portuguese superstar is definitely the king of the penalty kicks and he has proved that again this season.
There are so many things that the winger does better than anyone in the football world, and scoring from 10 yards is also one of them.
No one has scored more penalty kicks in Europe’s top five leagues than the 5-time Ballon d’Or winner this season. He has attempted 7 spot kicks in the campaign and converted an amazing 6 of them. He missed only one – to Roberto Gimenez, when Real Madrid played against Malaga on November 26, 2017.
Meanwhile, his eternal rival Lionel Messi has attempted six spot-kicks this season but converted only three of them.
#1. Scoring in 9 straight Champions League matches
It is true that Ronaldo scored in every match during the group stages of the UEFA Champions League. However, moving forward into Ronaldo’s stats in the Champions League this season, that record becomes even more amazing.
The Portuguese did not stop his blistering performances in the group stages of the competition. Real Madrid faced French club Paris Saint Germain in the Round of 16 of the Champions League, and in that clash, the attacker scored three goals against the Parisians over the two legs to extend his fantastic form and knock PSG out of the competition.
Later, he added to that amazing run when Los Blancos faced Italian champions, Juventus FC in the quarterfinals of the competition. He scored an incredible brace, including a brilliant overhead kick to raise his tally to 14 for the season (119 all-time).
By doing so, he has become the only player to score in nine straight Champions League matches this season. That implies that he has now scored in every match he has played in the UEFA Champions League this term. Any word to describe him?
Extra: In the match against Juventus, Ronaldo scored two brilliant goals and broke some amazing records. See some of them below:
Ronaldo’s second goal took his season’s tally in all competitions to 39 – more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues.
Ronaldo has now scored more goals in the Champions League quarter-finals (22 in 19 games) than Juventus have in their history in this round of the competition.
Ronaldo has now scored in all six of his Champions League appearances against Juventus. It’s nine goals and counting against the Old Lady for CR7 – no player has scored more against a single opponent in the competition.