Ronaldo attains new Champions League heights with 125 goals, 17 ahead of Messi

Juventus were not at their best in the Champions League but, once again, that man Cristiano Ronaldo came to their rescue.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward took his tally to 125 goals in 161 appearances in the competition with a superb diving header in Amsterdam.

He is now 17 goals ahead of his nearest rival Lionel Messi. Can the Barcelona forward – nearly three years younger – catch him?

Ronaldo, 34, made his Champions League debut in 2003 for United, but didn’t find the net in the competition until 10 April 2007, when he scored twice in a 7-1 thrashing of Roma.

Twelve years to the day later he became the first man to reach the 125 mark with his brilliant header against Ajax.

“Ronaldo showed that he is on a different level. His timing and movement is different to everyone else’s – there’s nothing you can do about it,” Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.

“He is a player who just has a different technique than the others.”

Ronaldo has scored five times in eight appearances this season, some 12 short of his seasonal best of 17, notched in 2013-14 when he guided Real to the trophy.

He averages 0.77 goals per game in the Champions League.

Messi, 31, made his Champions League bow in December 2004 and initially outscored Ronaldo. Indeed, at the end of the 2011-12 season Messi had scored 13 more goals in the competition.

But Ronaldo’s relentless scoring rate – he scored at least 10 times in every season from 2011-12 to 2017-18 – saw the Portuguese open up his current lead.

Messi’s 108 goals have come in 132 appearances, at an average of 0.81 goals per game.

For Messi to catch Ronaldo then – presuming that Ronaldo did not score again and Messi continued to score at his average rate – Messi would need another 21 appearances in the competition.

If Barcelona reached the final this season, and next season, Messi would be on track to hit the 125 mark in the group stage of the 2020-21 season, when he would be 33.

Feasible? Of course. But can you see Ronaldo stopping any time soon?

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is the next top scorer of players who are still playing, and his haul of 60 is way off the pace.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero needs 89 goals to draw level with Ronaldo and is 30 years old.

Even 25-year-old Harry Kane – whose strike rate in the Champions League is a superb 14 goals from 17 appearances – would need 10 solid seasons of scoring 11 goals or more to reach Ronaldo’s current mark.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply