Cristiano Ronaldo has broken new ground in the European Cup this season with 17 goals to set a new best for a single campaign in the competition – and finish as the UEFA Champions League's top scorer for the second term running and the third overall.
Prior to last season, Ronaldo had not claimed the scoring prize since 2007/08, when his eight goals – including one in the final – helped Manchester United FC lift the trophy for the third time. There followed four years in which Lionel Messi took the honours, but in 2012/13 Ronaldo managed 12 goals to end two clear of Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski, with Messi two further back on eight.
The Portugal forward has been even more impressive in the current campaign, opening with a hat-trick in Madrid's 6-1 win at Galatasaray AŞ and going on to notch nine goals in the group stage – a record. Two ensued in each leg of the round of 16 tie against FC Schalke 04, and it was not until the semi-final first leg against FC Bayern München – Ronaldo's ninth tournament appearance of 2013/14 – that he failed to register.
He made amends with two more goals in the second leg, establishing a high-water mark for a European Cup campaign by surpassing the previous best of 14 set by José Altafini (1962/63) and matched by Messi (2011/12). His 120th-minute penalty – goal No17 – to make it 4-1 in Saturday's final against Club Atlético de Madrid CF merely iced the cake.
He thus finished six goals clear of Zlatan Ibrahimović, with Atlético striker Diego Costa and Messi in joint-third position on eight goals. Manchester City FC's Sergio Agüero and Lewandowski mustered six apiece.
Ronaldo's treble at Galatasaray was the first of seven in this season's competition, with Messi, Kostas Mitroglou (Olympiacos FC), Álvaro Negredo (Manchester City), Arturo Vidal (Juventus) and Neymar (FC Barcelona) also netting hat-tricks in the group stage and Robin van Persie scoring three in Manchester United's round of 16 second-leg defeat of Olympiacos. Ibrahimović struck four times in Paris Saint-Germain's group stage victory at Anderlecht – the tenth player to hit four in a single match, not including Messi's five-goal haul against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 2012.
Ronaldo and Messi are also closing in on Raúl González's record all-time UEFA Champions League goal total; the former Madrid and Schalke ace has 71 in the competition, four more than Messi and Ronaldo.
2013/14 UEFA Champions League top scorers
17 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF)
10 Zlatan Ibrahimović (Paris Saint-Germain)
8 Diego Costa (Club Atlético de Madrid)
8 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
6 Sergio Agüero (Manchester City FC)
6 Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund)
UEFA Champions League top scorers by season
2012/13 – Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF (12)
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 – Raúl González, Real Madrid CF (7)
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 FC (7)
1993/94 – Ronald Koeman, FC Barcelona; Wynton Rufer, SV Werder Bremen (8)
UEFA Champions League overall top scorers
71 Raúl González (Real Madrid CF, FC Schalke 04)
67 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United FC, Real Madrid CF)
56 Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United FC, Real Madrid CF)
50 Thierry Henry (AS Monaco FC, Arsenal FC, FC Barcelona)
48 Andriy Shevchenko (FC Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea FC)
46 Filippo Inzaghi (Juventus, AC Milan)
42 Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus)
41 Didier Drogba (Olympique de Marseille, Chelsea FC, Galatasaray AŞ)
41 Zlatan Ibrahimović (AFC Ajax, Juventus, FC Internazionale Milano, FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain)
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.