"It's an honour to reach this number," Cristiano Ronaldo told UEFA.com after scoring his 100th UEFA club competition goal. "And to do it against a team as great as Bayern makes it feel even better."
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Cristiano Ronaldo had been stuck on 98 European club competition goals from September even as Real Madrid progressed through the UEFA Champions League, until he scored twice to chalk up his century in Wednesday's 2-1 win at Bayern München.
It was clear from his expression after his second, 77th-minute strike that the goal meant even more to him than simply giving his side a quarter-final first-leg lead. "I'm very happy," Ronaldo told UEFA.com. "I really wanted to reach this milestone."
A full 659 minutes had passed since the talisman's previous UEFA Champions League goal – his longest barren spell in the competition for Madrid – when he ghosted into the Bayern area and volleyed in Dani Carvajal's cross to equalise on 47 minutes. Half an hour later he poked the winner through Manuel Neuer's legs. "Those who doubt Cristiano are wrong," said full-back Marcelo.
Ronaldo himself added: "It's an honour to reach this number. And to do it against a team as great as Bayern makes it feel even better."
It had been a frustrating first half for the Portugal forward and his team-mates, Bayern controlling possession and ceding few opportunities for Madrid to attack. But a penalty miss just before half-time from opening goalscorer Arturo Vidal, Ronaldo's equaliser and then a red card for Javi Martínez turned the game. It was Martínez's replacement Juan Bernat that Ronaldo beat to the ball for the clincher.
"I think we contained Cristiano well until Javi Martínez's red card," said Bayern coach and Ronaldo's former boss Carlo Ancelotti. "But in the end his quality shone through and he decided the match with his two goals."
Ever the perfectionist, the 32-year-old Ronaldo was not completely satisfied with his record-breaking performance, according to current coach Zinédine Zidane. "He was happy, but not so much because he knew he could have scored a third," the Frenchman revealed. "This is the level of his ambition."
Ronaldo is no stranger to these feats yet he acknowledged this night could have ended very differently. "Bayern should have scored a second from the penalty," he said. "But football is a box of surprises and five minutes can change everything."
The reigning champions went on to triumph 2-1, though their hero insisted the tie is far from over ahead of Tuesday's return. "They are a great team, we know the second leg will be tough," Ronaldo warned. "But we have the advantage and will play at home. We are hoping to reach the semi-finals."
As the season approaches its climax, the new centurion is working hard to stay in optimal form. "I'm in good condition," he said. "I've made radical changes to my training regime to get to this stage of the season in the best possible shape. In recent years, I have reached my limit by the end of the season and had little injuries, but I've worked hard with a fitness coach to be ready for the last two months. I want to help Madrid with the league and the Champions League."