Ronaldo rewrites Real record books

ronaldoMALMÖ: Cristiano Ronaldo surpassed 500 career goals and tied Raul as Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer with a double in the Spanish giants 2-0 win away at Malmo yesterday.

Ronaldo, 30, netted his 500th and 501st goals to propel Madrid to victory against the Swedish champions in the Group A clash, also extending his record Champions League tally to 82.

Additionally, the Portuguese star pulled level with Raul on 323 goals for Madrid despite playing over 400 games fewer for Los Blancos than the Spanish legend.

However, according to club records Ronaldo is already Madrid’s top scorer of all-time as they add a goal officially awarded by the Spanish league to Pepe in a 2-1 defeat of Real Sociedad in 2010.

“He has surpassed Raul, who was a phenomenon and that shows that he has scored a lot of goals,” said Madrid coach Rafael Benitez.

“Hopefully, he has no limits. I said he was unquestionable in the past and his merit is what he has done in far less time than the rest. That adds more value to what he has achieved.”

The double also moved Ronaldo ahead of Raul as the top goalscorer for the 10-time European champions in the Champions League with 67.

Ronaldo reached the 500-goal landmark in his 753rd game with 118 goals coming during his time at Manchester United, five while at boyhood club Sporting Lisbon and 55 for Portugal.

The victory left Madrid with a maximum six points from two games and ahead of Paris Saint-Germain, 3-0 winners over Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, on goal difference.

With Sunday’s Madrid derby against Atletico on the horizon, Rafa Benitez opted against rushing back James Rodriguez or Gareth Bale while Los Blancos were also without injured defensive pair Sergio Ramos and Pepe.

Malmo, European Cup runners-up in 1979, made a reasonable start with skipper Markus Rosenberg and Anton Tinnerholm testing Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas from distance.

But Madrid gradually asserted their dominance as the first half wore on with Ronaldo, scorer of a hat-trick in an opening 4-0 win over Shakhtar, drawing a pair of saves from home ‘keeper Johan Wiland in quick succession.

Malmo failed to heed those warning signs and paid the price on 29 minutes when Isco slipped a ball through to an unmarked Ronaldo who calmly fired past Wiland to extend his Champions League goals record to 81. Dani Carvajal was desperately unlucky not to add to the lead a few minutes before half-time as the right-back’s half-volley with the outside of his foot bounced back off the crossbar with Wiland well beaten. Mateo Kovacic fired just wide with the second half only five minutes old but Madrid were given a scare when Rosenberg sent a header skipping just wide of the target.

Malmo’s hopes of salvaging something were dealt a big blow when Peruvian left-back Yoshimar Yotun was dismissed for a second booking on 78 minutes.

Only the heroics of Wiland prevented Ronaldo from adding to his haul shortly after as the Swede flung himself to his left to tip over a goalbound strike with another stunning one-handed save denying the Portuguese again a few minutes later.
But Ronaldo eventually wrapped up the victory in the final minute of normal time, stabbing home a Lucas Vazquez cross from close range to write his name into Real’s record books.—AFP

This article was published on 30/09/2015