With 141 goals on 187 UEFA Champions League games, Cristiano Ronaldo is the undisputed king of the competition. By his early 30s, he had already won the prestigious tournament five times including an unmatched three-peat. Even this season, he has scored 6 goals in 5 matches at the age of 36 to carry his team Manchester United into the knockouts of the tournament.
His exploits in this competition have received a lot of deserved appreciation. But the start of his journey in the Champions League was not so smooth. After scoring only 16 goals in his first seven seasons in the competition, nothing extraordinary was expected from him.
Things changed quickly after he sealed his move to the Spanish capital to represent Real Madrid. His form in the UCL started to reach new heights first under Jose Mourinho and then under Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane respectively.
"If Cristiano Ronaldo was not a football player, I would have already won 3 Champions League with Atlético Madrid." pic.twitter.com/2XTpwTQIe9
— PurelyFootball®️ (@PurelyFootball) December 16, 2021Advertisement
One of the biggest factors behind this has been his constant good form against the Spanish teams. He has till now played 24 games against Spanish oppositions in UCL and has scored 11 goals and provided 3 assists – 0.58 goal involvement per game against Spanish teams in the competition! With 190 minutes per goal and 149 minutes per goal contribution – he is a menace for these teams in the tournament. Here are 4 Spanish teams Cristiano has faced in UCL:
#1 Atletico Madrid:
The team he loves to face is Atletico Madrid – the team he is also about to face in this season’s UCL round of 16. In 10 UCL appearances against them, he has scored 7 goals and assisted 2 times – 137.1 minutes per goal and 106.7 minutes per goal involvement. With two hat-tricks against his former local rival, he becomes unstoppable at times against Atletico. What’s crazier is that he has averaged 1.4 key passes against them and has a shot on target percentage of 41.5%!
Cristiano Ronaldo lives rent-free in Atletico Madrid's nightmares 😈 #UCLdraw
👕 35 games
⚽️ 25 goals
🙌 16 wins
🏆 2 Champions League final wins
🔥 4 hat-tricks pic.twitter.com/J2Yfm1Xykf
— GOAL (@goal) December 13, 2021Advertisement
Two of those seven have come from penalties and the rest of them have been scored from inside the penalty box – further proving his ability to be in the right place at the right time. His overall endeavors against them have earned him three man of the match awards in ten games and have helped Real Madrid defeat Atletico twice in the UCL final.
#2 FC Barcelona:
📊Players with the most goals and assists in the Champions League knockout stage:Advertisement
🇵🇹Cristiano Ronaldo: 83
🇦🇷Leo Messi: 61
🇩🇪Thomas Müller: 34
🇪🇸Raul Gonzalez: 25
🇧🇷 Kaka: 22
🇧🇷 Neymar: 20 pic.twitter.com/9xLDbkoDa5
— CristianoXtra (@CristianoXtra_) December 17, 2021
His second favourite Spanish team to face in the competition is FC Barcelona. Barcelona crushed Ronaldo’s dream of winning the UCL for the second time back in 2009. But overall, he has often been brilliant to watch against them.
In six games against Barca, Cristiano has scored 2 goals, both from penalty spots. He has registered a shot on target percentage of 41.7%. With 6 successful dribbles and 1 key pass in these 6 games, his performance against Barcelona can be termed as decent.
#3 Valencia CF:
Ronaldo faced Valencia CF only once in the UCL and provided one assist against them over two legs, securing 119 minutes per goal involvement. In these two matches, he also made 3 key passes and won 3 aerial duels.
#4 Villarreal CF:
The last on the list is Villarreal CF. He has faced them thrice in UCL till now and this season specifically he has been crucial in securing the wins for his team against the Spanish giants. In 6 games against them, he has scored 2 goals – one from inside the box and the other from outside the box – at a rate of 234 minutes per goal and has also made 4 key passes. Even his shots on target percentage stand at a staggering 42.9%.
Cristiano Ronaldo in the UEFA Champions League is fated to face Diego Simeone’s Atletico once more in the knockouts and with him carrying the team on his back in the European competition till now, much is once again anticipated from this upcoming clash.