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Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo’s legacy: goals, records and a quest for greatness

One of the world’s greatest players, Cristiano Ronaldo, left the 2022 World Cup in tears after Portugal fell to a 1-0 defeat to the tournament’s surprise package Morocco in the quarter-final.

Axed by Manchester United last month, the 37-year-old faces an uncertain future, though rumours linking him with a megabucks switch to Saudi Arabia continue to fill the headlines. 

The deal has yet to go through, but even now, Ronaldo is fully aware of his football legacy, even though he missed perhaps his final opportunity to land a coveted Jules Rimet trophy.

It would have been a career-defining achievement for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, and at 37, it’s unlikely that the all-time highest scorer in men’s international football will have another shot at World Cup glory. 

Despite failing to take the World Cup title to his glowing trophy cabinet, Ronaldo can retire today and know he’ll always stay remembered for the countless records he has smashed throughout his illustrious career. 

His ever-present desire for greatness turned the Madeira native into one of the most influential figures in football history. In fact, rewriting history books has almost been second nature to this football phenom. 

As he approaches the twilight of his playing career, Ronaldo has set the benchmark high for future generations, amassing an unrivalled collection of goalscoring records, many of which may never be broken. 

Let’s have a look at some of his most eye-catching accomplishments. 

World Cup 

Despite failing to fulfil his dream of bringing the World Cup trophy to Portugal, the Qatar showpiece wasn’t a complete waste for Cristiano Ronaldo.

His penalty against Ghana in a curtain-raising Group H fixture helped him become the first player to score in five different World Cups, a feat not even his arch-nemesis Lionel Messi has achieved. 

France superstar Kylian Mbappe seems to be the only viable candidate to match Ronaldo’s record. At 23, he has already scored in two finals, and as witnessed by his form in Qatar, he has no intention of stopping. 

Champions League Specialist

Dubbed the Champions League goalscoring machine, Ronaldo leads the way for most goals in Europe’s elite club competition, having tallied a staggering 140 goals, 11 more than second-placed Messi.

As the owner of five Champions League titles, he smashed a 100-goal barrier in the competition’s proper back in April 2017, becoming the first-ever player to reach this astonishing milestone.

Ronaldo remains the only player in Champions League history to net 17 goals in a single season, doing so while in Madrid back in 2013/14.

Ronaldo’s unreal scoring exploits in the Champions League, especially in the tournament’s knockouts when the stakes are higher, make him a standout achiever.

60+ goals in four consecutive calendar years

With all due respect to Erling Haaland and Mbappe, their scoring proficiency, no matter how intimidating it may look, may never be on a pair with prime Ronaldo. 

From 2011 to 2014, the Portuguese ace continually racked up 60+ goals for club and country, cementing his place as the most prolific footballer to have graced this sport.

There’s a feeling that this record is meant to stand the test of time, testifying to Ronaldo’s well-documented scoring prowess long after he hangs up his boots. 

The list of Ronaldo’s accomplishments goes on. It’s impossible to mention all of them in one article.

This football great deserves a television series to publish everything he has done since emerging onto the big stage two decades ago. 

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