Following Real Madrid’s match with Juventus on 7 November, Christiano Ronaldo scored his 14th UEFA Champions League goal in 2013 to break Lionel Messi’s record of 13 goals scored in the competition in a calendar. It is clear that Ronaldo might well be on course to take the Ballon D’Or away from the four-times winning Messi.
This is unfortunately more likely now that Messi has obtained his fourth hamstring injury of 2013 and is predicted to be out of action until the end of the calendar year.
After his goal against Juventus, Ronaldo has scored an all-time total of 59 goals, which is four behind Messi with 63, and the Champions League’s all-time leading goal scorer, Raul, with 71. Considering that Raul scored his final goal in the UCL at the age of 33, it seems certain that either Messi or Ronaldo at the ages of 26 and 27 respectively, will break the record.
Considering Messi’s injury, it would seem likely that Ronaldo is in the frame to surpass the latter’s current all-time tally, and is odds-on favourite to win the Golden Boot.
Is Ronaldo a more complete player than in previous years?
Quite simply, yes. While much of his skill – and specifically his footwork – was certainly in place when he played for Sporting Lisbon in a friendly against Manchester United and wowed Sir Alex Ferguson enough to buy the youthful star. Although it took him a while to acclimatise to the heavy, physical nature of the Premier League.
With help from the United coaching staff, Ronaldo was able to work on building his strength to prevent others from knocking him off the ball, and was changed his attitude from one of showiness to clinical professionalism, that he continues to exude at the peak of his powers with Real Madrid. In addition, early on, Ronaldo was non-existent in the air – and far from the genius header of the ball he became.
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