After a slow start to the ongoing season, Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has hit his stride and he is now scoring goals at a clip that he has been for the past several seasons. The Portugal international was in stellar form in last night’s Champions League fixture against the hapless Swedish champions Malmo at the Santiago Bernabeu as he scored four times to help his side run riot in an 8-0 win.
Through the course of the encounter Ronaldo broke many records. He started the game with seven goals from the first five Champions League group stage fixtures this season – five against Shakhtar Donetsk across the two legs and a double against Malmo from the first leg – and ended the group stage with a whopping 11 courtesy of his four strikes. He earlier held the record of most goals in the group stage of the European Cup with nine – shared the record with AC Milan forward Luiz Adriano – and now he is the sole holder of the record with 11. To put it into perspective, the top scorers at last year’s competition had ten goals.
Ronaldo’s closest competitors are a distant six goals behind his tally. The chasing pack includes the likes of Bayern Munich forwards Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, Barcelona hitman Luis Suarez and Zenit Saint Petersburg’s Artyom Dzyuba, each with five. The head start that the Portuguese has is likely to see him end this year’s tournament as the top goalscorer.
His showing on the night stretched his overall Champions League goal tally to 89, ten ahead of his closest rival – Barcelona stalwart Lionel Messi.
Apart from his four goals, Ronaldo also assisted two goals, meaning he was directly involved in six goals for Los Blancos last night. His contribution from the previous five games was seven strikes and one assist. As a consequence, he has now been directly involved in 14 goals, another record. Also, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo become the first players to both score a hat-trick in a single game in the Champions League era.
Ronaldo’ freekick goal against Malmo last night.
The former Manchester United winger has now scored 70 goals in 69 appearances for Real Madrid.
Astonishingly, it is the fifth successive season when Ronaldo’s tally in the Champions League has crossed into double figures. Real Madrid faithful will hope that the forward continues his form into the business end of the tournament.