Cristiano Ronaldo has established himself as Mr. Champions League. A true football GOAT, right? However, he is not done yet. For example, he broke yet another record when he featured for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United when they played against Unai Emery’s Villarreal on Matchday 2.
The Portuguese captain has enjoyed unmatched success in the European competition, including winning it five times and scoring more goals than any other player.
So, what Champions League records belong to Ronaldo?
The most games played – 178
This is the latest record he broke. Initially, former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas held this record, having played 177 Champions League matches. However, after returning to Old Trafford, Ronaldo equalled Casilla’s record in the match against Young Boys before breaking it when he played against Villarreal.
Lionel Messi is third with 151 appearances, while Xavi and Raul are fourth with 151 and 142 appearances. These numbers show that it will take some time before anyone breaks Ronaldo’s record because some of the players in the top 5 have already retired. Moreover, he is still playing more matches in the Champions League. His only hope is that Manchester United can proceed past the group stage of the competition.
This record is a testament to his endurance and quality that have enabled him to reach 178 matches. He first played in the Champions League 18 years ago, aged 18. Sir Alex Ferguson gave Ronaldo his Champions League debut in which he earned a penalty even though Manchester United lost the match 2-1 to Stuttgart.
However, he has made the competition his own since that day by breaking many records and enjoying many memorable moments.
The most UEFA Champions League goals – 135
Cristiano Ronaldo leads the UEFA Champions League as the all-time top scorer. To date, he has scored 135 goals, and he is still counting. Lionel Messi has to settle for second with 120 goals, and he is also still counting. The two players are way ahead of other contenders that soccer betting odds would give them a small chance of catching up! For example, Robert Lewandowski is third with 78 goals.
Most goals in a UEFA Champions League season – 17
Ronaldo also holds the record of the most goals in a UEFA Champions League season. Mr. Champions League managed 17 goals during the 2013-14 season playing for Real Madrid. The Spanish giants would go on to win the tournament that season. That victory also marked Real Madrid’s 10th European Cup trophy.
Most goals in UEFA Champions League knockout stages – 67
Ronaldo has finished as the tournament’s top scorer seven times. His goal-scoring prowess has seen him become the player that has scored the most goals in the Champions League knock-out stages.
The only player to score in three different UEFA Champions League finals
Cristiano Ronaldo made history again by becoming the first player to score in three UEFA Champions League finals. He entered history when he scored against Juventus with a low shot that went past experienced Italian shot-stopper, Gianluigi Buffon.
He had previously scored in the 2008 final for Manchester United when they played Chelsea in an all-English final. He also converted a 120th-minute penalty for Real Madrid in 2014 as they overcame Atletico Madrid in an all-Spanish final in 2014.
The only player to score in all the six games in a UEFA Champions League group
The record-breaker was at it again in 2013 when he broke the Champions League group stage goal-scoring record. The Portuguese scored his 9th goal in the match between Real Madrid and Copenhagen. He effectively established a new goal-scoring record. The record was initially held by Crespo, Inzaghi, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Ibrahimovic.
Other UEFA Champions League records held by Ronaldo:
The UEFA Champions League official website also lists the following records held by Ronaldo.
- Ronaldo has scored in 11 straight UEFA Champions League Games.
- He is also the only player to score 10 goals against a single club in the UEFA Champions League: Vs. Juventus. Ironically, he ended up being one of their best-paid players.
- He is also the player with the most UEFA Champions League final wins.
- He is the only soccer player to be named UEFA Footballer/Best Player/Men’s Player (4 times).
- He is also the player with the most appearances in the UEFA.com users’ Team of the Year. He has been named 15 times.
- He is the joint-most UEFA Champions League group stage appearance. He has featured in this stage of the competition 95 times.
The greatest player of all time?
Ronaldo’s achievements at the biggest stage have established him as the Greatest Player of All Time. What’s more, he has not hung his boots yet, and he is determined to be the greatest footballer the football world has ever seen!