Cristiano Ronaldo is widely expected to win a fifth Ballon d’Or on Thursday, which would draw him level with Lionel Messi for most wins in the award’s history. But what makes the Real Madrid man the best?
Well, for starters, he’s the all-time leading scorer for both club and country.
He’s also got the most goals in Champions League history, having become the first person to hit the century mark in the competition, and he’s scored 10 goals in six different Champions League campaigns, the only player to do so, and he’s about to make that seven, as he’s already on nine goals this season coming out of the group stages.
But it’s not just the sheer number of goals, it’s the significance of them. Ronaldo has scored in three different Champions League finals, becoming the first player to do so back in June with his brace against Cardiff.
That brace was the culmination of a run which saw him score 10 goals in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final, an astonishing display of goalscoring prowess against Europe’s best.
He may grab, and indeed demand, the attention for his scoring, but the accusations of selfishness are overblown.
The Portugal star crossed 200 assists for club and country earlier this season, and no player has more assists in the Champions League over the last 10 seasons.
More than anything, though, Ronaldo wins. For Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Portugal, in the Champions League, La Liga, Premier League, and European Championships – he’s won it all. And now, he could win another Ballon d’Or.
However, Ronaldo leads the goalscoring charts in the Champions League with eight in five games and Zidane expects that form to soon return on league duty.
“He is so good that when things don’t go as he is used to then people start to talk about him,” Zidane said on Tuesday ahead of Real’s Champions League dead rubber against Borussia Dortmund.
“He will keep trying until the goals come. Not long ago, only last year, he had a phenomenal season.
“There is a long way to go, we are only nearly halfway though the season. Be careful with Cristiano.”
Cristiano Ronaldo will reportedly receive the Ballon d’Or atop the Eiffel Tower, according to reports in Spain. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/a9o6Liyg4z
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 4, 2017
With Karim Benzema also failing to find the net regularly, a lack of goals has blighted Real’s season so far.
Until September, Zidane’s men had scored in 73 straight games.
However, they have now drawn blanks in three of their last nine La Liga outings against Real Betis, Atletico Madrid and on Saturday in a 0-0 stalemate at Athletic Bilbao.
Zidane, though, rejected widespread suggestions, most recently from Valencia coach Marcelino Garcia Toral, that Madrid’s squad is poorer this season for the loss of Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez and Pepe in the off-season.
“It is true that we need to score more goals because, being eight points behind in La Liga, the situation isn’t ideal,” added Zidane.
“But I am calm because I know that sooner or later that will change. No matter what people on the outside say, possibly they aren’t seeing what I am.
“We also can’t forget what this team has achieved. I certainly haven’t.”
With Madrid already assured of second place in Group H behind Tottenham Hotspur, Zidane is expected to heavily rotate his side against Dortmund ahead of a busy end to the year for Real.
The European champions host Sevilla on Saturday before jetting off to Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup and then face Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu on December 23.
Real Madrid have signed a new five-year deal with their sponsors Nivea Men, in an agreement that spans 70 countries.
Los Blancos have been partners with the leading men-care brand since 2013 in select markets but the new deal extends their relationship across the globe.
In celebration of the agreement, Nivea Men have released a behind-the-scenes video where Real Madrid players Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Isco and Lucas Vazquez share personal insights from the locker room offering fans the chance to get to know the “men behind the players” – their rituals, their motivations and their preparation techniques.