Free-Scoring Ronaldo Is Leading The Way
The mercurial Real Madrid forward, Christiano Ronaldo, broke the record held by Barcelona’s Lionel Messi for the number of UEFA Champions League goals scored in a single calendar year with a second-half goal against Juventus on November 7TH, 2013.
Coral had priced Ronaldo at 11/10 to score in the match, illustrating how well the former Manchester United man is regarded in the sporting world. With a total of 59 goals in the Champions League, Ronaldo is now ahead of the now retired Ruud Van Nistelrooy in the all-time UCL goal-scoring chart, but lies just behind Lionel Messi with 65, and the all-time leading goal-scorer, Raul with 71.
At 27-years old, the all-time record may well be within Ronaldo’s sights, with the equally brilliant Lionel Messi being his only barrier to that particular achievement. Ronaldo’s chances of receiving the Ballon D’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year this season have been significantly improved by the fact that Messi sustained a hamstring injury during Barcelona’s 4-1 victory over Real Betis. The injury will keep the Argentinian on the sidelines until the end of 2013.
Becoming the complete player
When he arrived at Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon as a 17-year old in 2003, Ronaldo was clearly a brilliant prospect with the potential to be the best. Yet, he was a skinny young man and he initially found the fast-paced physicality of the Premier League a little difficult to get accustomed to.
Landmark improvements to the Portuguese’s all-round game came in the 2007-8 season, which culminated in United winning both the Premier League, and the Champions League. Much of the secret behind his development lies with Alex Ferguson and Rene Meulensteen, who worked hard with the young star to improve his game in a number of ways. The most important changes were regarded the mental aspect of the game. This included general tactics, awareness, understanding, and decision-making. Much of this came from Meulensteen’s determination to coax much of the individualistic showiness out of Ronaldo’s game.
As Meulensteen explains in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Ronaldo would always look to score the most attractive goals in what the Dutchman refers to as a ‘look at me! Top corner!’ attitude that would often work to the detriment of the overall team performance. In essence, the first step in Ronaldo’s incredible development was his realisation that he could score ugly goals, as well as beautiful ones. Ronaldo has continued to improve since joining Real Madrid in 2009, due to a maturity that only comes with age.