April 18, 2017 saw Cristiano Ronaldo become the first man to score 100 Champions League goals. He remains the highest goal-scorer in the tournament.
That Cristiano Ronaldo is among the pantheon of all-time greats in football is undoubted. The Portugal superstar has racked up record after record to the point wherein it is commonplace to see him score goals for fun. But on this day exactly 4 years ago, he notched up a record that was special even for him. April 18, 2017 saw Cristiano Ronaldo become the first man to score 100 Champions League goals. It is telling, perhaps, that till date only one other person has accomplished this feat – Lionel Messi. Yet fans of CR7 will be only too happy to remind you that their idol got there first!
Ronaldo currently tops the charts in Europe’s premier competition with 134 goals; Messi is behind him with 120. Let us revisit how Ronaldo wrote his name into the CL history books forever.
It was the semi-finals of the 2018 edition of the Champions League. Real had beaten Bayern Munich 2-1 away from home thanks to a Ronaldo double.
Yet the tie was delicately poised. Bayern were more than capable of overturning the deficit and so it proved on the night.
Robert Lewandowski had given Bayern the lead through a penalty. But Ronaldo cancelled it out with a well-taken header thereafter. However, an own goal from Sergio Ramos saw the game head to extra time.
Yet if anyone anticipated a close match and penalties, they were blown away by a Ronaldo masterclass.
Ronaldo brought things back on level terms when he powered home a half-volley with his left foot in the 104th minute. 99 goals now. Surely it wasn’t going to happen tonight?
But it did. A tap-in from a Marcelo cross saw him complete his hat-trick – a perfect one at that – and gave Real the lead on the night.
Marco Asensio scored a fourth to put the game beyond all doubt and Real were through to the final. They would lift the trophy again that year.
That trophy turned out to be Ronaldo’s Real Madrid swansong. He would depart for Juventus in the summer, with the Italian champions desperate to secure Europe’s biggest club trophy.
However, while he led them to two more Serie A titles the Champions League has remained elusive. Interestingly, Real haven’t won it since then either.