Cristiano Ronaldo has enjoyed the most fruitful UEFA Champions League campaign of all time, breaking the record for the number of goals by an individual in a single European Cup season with his double during the semi-final second leg against FC Bayern München.
By way of tribute, UEFA.com has highlighted six of the 16 goals scored this term by a forward who will attempt to become the fourth player – after Raúl González, Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi – to find the net in two UEFA Champions League finals when Real Madrid CF play Club Atletico de Madrid on 24 May.
17 September 2013: Galatasaray AŞ 1-6 Real Madrid CF, group stage
Ronaldo's first outing in this season's tournament yielded his second UEFA Champions League hat-trick, his treble-sealing goal easily the pick of the bunch. Following two close-range finishes earlier in the half, the Portugal forward rubber-stamped Madrid's biggest away win in the competition with a thumping 91st-minute strike. Receiving possession outside the penalty area, the No7 drifted past Aurélien Chedjou and Dany Nounkeu with the aid of two trademark step-overs before unleashing a venomous left-footed shot across Fernando Muslera. "Scoring six goals away, especially here, is a major achievement – it is a serious boost to our confidence," said Ronaldo.
5 November 2013: Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid CF, group stage
Played in by Karim Benzema, as he was for the abovementioned goal, Ronaldo cancelled out Arturo Vidal's opener for the Bianconeri with one clinical stroke of his right boot. When former FC Barcelona defender Martín Cáceres erroneously passed to Benzema there was instant danger for Juventus. The French international quickly fed his team-mate with a perfectly weighted ball that Ronaldo, while opening his body out, unerringly curled past Gianluigi Buffon.
10 December 2013: FC København 0-2 Real Madrid CF, group stage
Pepe was the unlikely provider for Ronaldo to turn in Madrid's 800th European goal – and, more significantly, become the first player to register nine times in a UEFA Champions League group stage. Pepe, up from the back, headed across goal a diagonal pass from Marcelo that his compatriot swept under Johan Wiland. The FCK keeper did have the last laugh, though, by saving Ronaldo's chipped penalty a minute from time – a rare moment of frustration in a memorable campaign for the attacker. "I have scored another goal and I have helped the team," said Ronaldo. "I'm happy with that. It is just a record, though, and to be honest I don't worry too much about that."
26 February 2014: FC Schalke 04 1-6 Real Madrid CF, round of 16 first leg
Ronaldo made it 3-0 to the visitors with his first of two goals as Madrid eased to only their second victory on German soil and also became the first away team to hit six in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage. One-on-one with the isolated Joel Matip, the former Sporting Clube de Portugal and Manchester United FC player bamboozled his opponent with some lightning-quick footwork that culminated in the 29-year-old driving the ball into the net. "The [front three of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Benzema] all scored and were great, but they also had help from their team-mates," said Merengues coach Carlo Ancelotti. "Our attacking trio are very dangerous."
2 April 2014: Real Madrid CF 3-0 Borussia Dortmund, quarter-final first leg
Ten and a half years after his debut in the competition, Ronaldo heralded his 100th UEFA Champions League appearance with Madrid's third goal. Dortmund paid the highest price for relinquishing possession midway inside their half as Luka Modrić stole in ahead of Sebastian Kehl and immediate found Ronaldo, who, in the blink of an eye, showed fleet of foot to skip past the advancing Roman Weidenfeller and stroke the ball into the unguarded net.
29 April 2014: FC Bayern München 0-4 Real Madrid CF, semi-final second leg
And so to his historic goal in Munich. Having last time out equalled Messi's, and simultaneously José Altafini's, 51-year record of 14 goals in a single European Cup season, Ronaldo took his campaign tally to 16 with a brace against the holders. The goal with which he set a new mark stemmed from a blistering counterattack and owed much to the energy of Bale, who embarked on a lung-busting run through the middle before squaring the ball into the path of his team-mate to beat Manuel Neuer. "Obviously I'm happy with the [goalscoring] record but it's not something I was obsessed with," said Ronaldo afterwards.
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