Here’s a look at the most important moments from Real Madrid’s record goalscorer’s career.
Cristiano Ronaldo along with Lionel Messi is one of the two best players of this generation. The number ‘7’ has become synonymous with the Portuguese, and CR7 has become the footballing brand every player dreams of becoming. As Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his 33rd birthday, we look at the seven most iconic moments of his magnanimous career.
#7 Manchester United vs Sporting Lisbon, 7 August 2003
It was the inauguration of the Estádio José Alvalade in 2003, and Sporting Lisbon were playing hosts to Manchester United. The result was unexpected as United were beaten 3-1 by Sporting Lisbon. The player who stole the show was a tall, thin teenager from the islands of Madeira. The Manchester United defenders could not believe what they were witnessing as the whole team had a difficult time in handling the young left winger.
The journey of becoming the football player in the world started on this day. Cristiano Ronaldo went on to sign for Manchester United that summer, and he inherited the most iconic No. 7 jersey at the Theatre of Dreams. This was the start of what was yet to come.
#6 The night in Moscow
Nine years after the historic comeback in Barcelona against Bayer Munich, Manchester United were again in the Champions League Final. This time Chelsea was the team to beat in the cold night in Moscow.
Cristiano Ronaldo gave United the lead, as he headed in from a Wes Brown cross. Frank Lampard equalized for Chelsea, which took the game to extra time and eventually penalties. After both the teams had scored their first two penalties, Ronaldo stepped up to take the third kick in the shootout.
After a nervous run-up and a pause, he saw his penalty saved by Petr Cech, as he dived to his left. The shootout sparked when Chelsea Captain John Terry slipped while taking his penalty which led to one of the most famous misses of the tournament’s history. Edwin Van Der Sar saved Nicholas Anelka’s penalty and gave United their third Champions League title.
When the Red Devils ran in joy, the Portuguese could not hold back his tears. The tears of joy could not stop before he lifted his first Champions League trophy. He had a splendid season as he scored 42 goals, which helped Manchester United with the Premier League and the Champions League. Following this, he won his first ever Ballon d’Or.
#5 La Decima
‘La Decima’ or the tenth was due for 12 years, and it was in 2014 when Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid in Lisbon. The architect behind the most special Champions League trophy for Real Madrid was Carlo Ancelotti. Bale, Benzema, and Cristiano formed an unstoppable attack force. Cristiano Ronaldo was an integral part of the team as he scored a record 17 goals in the Champions League and 51 in total.
Even though he suffered from hamstring problems during the end of the season, he still played the Champions League Final and scored from the spot to extend Los Blancos’ lead to 4-1 in extra time. The wait for the 10th European Cup was finally over as the Real Madrid were champions of Europe again. The dream of winning an European Cup with Real Madrid also came true for Ronaldo, and the obsession of La Decima was finally over.
This was one of the best seasons for Ronaldo, not only did he win the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League, he went to win the UEFA Best Player in Europe award and his third Ballon d’Or.
#4 The second Ballon d’Or
The 2012-13 season was not something Real Madrid expected. They did not win any silverware that season. They were knocked out by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-finals and lost the Copa Del Rey finals to Atletico Madrid. On a personal level, Cristiano Ronaldo had an amazing season, he scored 55 goals which helped him reclaim his second Ballon d’Or.
Emotions overflowed, as he received his second golden ball at the gala of the FIFA Ballon d’Or. This showed us the emotional side of the athlete who functions like a machine, as he was overjoyed to be the best in the world again.
#3 The ‘Duo Decima’
One can easily say that Champions League is the tournament Ronaldo loves the most. The 2016-17 season was a personal best for him. He scored hattricks against Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, and a brace against Juventus in the final to win the Champions League for Real Madrid. He also scored 25 goals in La Liga which helped Real Madrid win their first league title in four years. His contribution was immense as Real Madrid achieved a historic double and became the first team to retain the champions league in the modern era.
In 2017, he also won a record equalizing fifth Ballon d’Or and became the highest scorer at the FIFA Club World Cup finals. He ended the year with more than 50 goals for club and country, and also as the winner of the FIFA Best Player and the UEFA Best Player in Europe awards.
#2 Portugal’s UEFA Euro victory
The failure in 2004, when Portugal lost against Greece in Portugal, was termed as one of the biggest shocks in the history of football.
Upsetting all the odds, Portugal reached the 2016 Euro Final against France in France. Ronaldo got injured after a harsh tackle by Dimitri Payet on him in the first half and the captain had to be substituted.
As Eder scored the most important goal in the history of Portugal, Ronaldo’s dream of winning silverware with his country came alive. The emotions in him could not take a back seat, as he watched the game from the bench helping and motivating his team.
#1 Becoming Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer
Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player who has more goals than games played for a club. His goal scoring abilities are known to the entire world. The fact that his goals-to-game ratio is more than one for Real Madrid – having scored 426 goals in 421 appearances for the Los Blancos – reflects his attacking intent.
On 17 October in 2015, when Ronaldo scored the second goal in a 3-0 victory over Levante, he surpassed Raul’s tally of 323 goals and became Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer. Ronaldo played 300 fewer games than Raul to achieve this feat.
The feeling of being a club’s all-time top scorer will remain with him for a while until someone comes and breaks his record, but for the time being it is Ronaldo who is here to stay.
There are many moments that miss the list, but what we can hope for is that Ronaldo creates more moments like these before he hangs up his boots.