Cristiano Ronaldo has surpassed the goal total for a single UEFA Champions League season, with his strikes in Real Madrid CF's semi-final second leg at FC Bayern München taking his campaign tally to 16 so far.
The Portuguese international entered the last four with 14 goals in this season's competition, level with the record held by his FC Barcelona counterpart Lionel Messi. Ronaldo had equalled Messi – and, simultaneously, ex-AC Milan forward José Altafini's 51-year European Cup record – in the quarter-final first leg against Borussia Dortmund.
With Madrid already 2-0 up in Munich, the Portuguese forward set a personal landmark in the 34th minute at the Fußball Arena München, rounding off a devastating counterattack involving Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale for his record-breaking strike. He then added another from a free-kick to seal a 4-0 win and a place in Lisbon on 24 May.
An incredible group stage performance laid the foundations for his achievement. An opening-day hat-trick against Galatasaray AŞ was an ominous portent for Ronaldo's Group B opponents, and the 29-year-old added doubles against FC København and Juventus. Ronaldo struck nine times in all, breaking the eight-goal group stage record owned jointly by Ruud van Nistelrooy (2004/05), Filippo Inzaghi and Hernán Crespo (both 2002/03) – and Zlatan Ibrahimović, who equalled the feat on matchday five this term.
The irrepressible Ronaldo then almost single-handedly dispatched FC Schalke 04 with a brace in each leg of their round of 16 contest, before another landmark strike against Dortmund, against whom he had registered his 50th UEFA Champions League goal in the semi-finals last year. Ronaldo ultimately upstaged Messi in the scoring stakes last season for the first time in five campaigns – both players are closing fast on the all-time benchmark of 71 set by Raúl González. with Messi on 67, one more than Ronaldo.
UEFA Champions League leading scorers season by season
2012/13: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) – 12 goals
2011/12: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) – 14
2010/11: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) – 12
2009/10: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) – 8
2008/09: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) – 9
2007/08: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United FC) – 8
2006/07: Kaká (AC Milan) – 10
2005/06: Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan) – 9
2004/05: Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United FC) – 8
2003/04: Fernando Morientes (AS Monaco FC) – 9
2002/03: Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United FC) – 12
2001/02: Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United FC) – 10
2000/01: Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan) – 9
1999/00: Mário Jardel (FC Porto), Rivaldo (FC Barcelona), Raúl González (Real Madrid CF) – 10
1998/99: Andriy Shevchenko (FC Dynamo Kyiv), Dwight Yorke (Manchester United FC) – 8
1997/98: Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus) – 10
1996/97: Milinko Pantić (Club Atlético de Madrid) – 5
1995/96: Jari Litmanen (AFC Ajax) – 9
1994/95: George Weah (Paris Saint-Germain) – 7
1993/94: Ronald Koeman (FC Barcelona), Wynton Rufer (SV Werder Bremen) – 8
1992/93: Romário (PSV Eindhoven) – 7
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.