IN May 2010 Ronaldo scored his first hat-trick in Spain, in Real’s away La Liga game against Mallorca. Together, he and Gonzalo Higuaín scored a total of 53 League goals in 2009-10 to became Real’s highest scoring duo in the club’s history.
Following the departure in the summer of 2010 of Real’s champion marksman of all-time Raúl (323 goals in 741 appearances) Ronaldo was given the number seven jersey and quickly celebrated with a four-timer against Racing de Santander, the most goals he has ever netted in a single match.
Ronaldo began the 2011 knowing he had already broken numerous goal-scoring records for Real, and was in sight of surpassing a few more, including that of Telmo Zarra’s and Hugo Sánchez’s record of 38 League goals in a single season, scored in 1950-51 and 1989-90 respectively.
He had a brilliant second-half to the season, ending up with a total of 49 in all competitions, including a dramatic 103rd minute winner against Barca in the Copa del Rey final.
This goal was later chosen as both Ronaldo’s and Real Madrid’s best goal of that the season. On May 15, 2011 he netted with two booming free-kicks in a 3–1 win over Villarreal to pull him level with Zarra and Sanchez on 38 La Liga goals, and six days later, he scored twice more in the last match of the season against Almería to bring his seasonal tally in La Liga to an incredible 40 (in 34 games), thus becoming the first and so far only player to score 40 goals in Spanish League history.
His goal scoring efforts earned him the European Golden Shoe award once again – making him the first player to win the trophy in two different countries.
His goal-tally in all competitions in 2010-11, was a staggering 53 in 54 appearances. This season he has continued to blitz defenders and goalkeepers alike!
He scored a second half hat-trick in a 3–0 friendly win over Guadalajara, netted his 100th goal for Real (in all games) with a first-half equalizer against Barcelona in the second leg of the 2011 Spanish Super Cup in the Camp Nou and opened his La Liga account for the season with another hat-trick in a 6–0 win at Real Zaragoza. In October, in-form Ronaldo scored his eleventh hat-trick for Real in a 4-0 drubbing of Malaga and on 6 November he cracked home is 12th treble in a 7-1 drubbing of Osasuna.
There will be many more three-goal hauls to come, I’m sure, from this brilliantly-talented footballer. In September 2010, Ronaldo’s physical performance was subject to scrutiny by the world media, after Castrol released a TV film named ‘Ronaldo: Tested to the Limit’ where he was put to test in several fields, including mental and physical.
However, conclusions from the movie and doctors during the weeks following claimed that Ronaldo was one of the best athletes in the world, excelling in football and outstanding in almost every other category.
Some even compared him to champion sprinter Usain Bolt. Away from his club football, Ronaldo has also played in 87 full internationals for Portugal, scoring 32 goals.
He gained his first cap in a 1–0 victory over Kazakhstan in August 2003 and netted his first goal versus Greece in a Euro 2004 group game.
He has also netted eleven times in 23 intermediate internationals and notched almost 70 goals in various ‘other’ matches. So far this season (which is now nearing the halfway mark) at the time of writing this he had bagged 14 goals in 16 competitive club games.
He’ll probably double, even treble that before the curtain comes down next May.
Is he as good as Lionel Messi?
Possibly not quite… but that’s only my opinion.
Final part in a series revealing the life of Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo By Tony Matthews, author of more than 100 published football books