Nine goals not enough for record-breaking Ronaldo
On a night of milestones for Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo was pleased to set a new Champions League record by scoring his ninth goal of the current campaign’s group phase – but admitted he should have had more.
The Portuguese star drilled home a low close-range shot early in the second half of his team’s 2-0 victory at Copenhagen to surpass the group stage tallies previously managed by Filippo Inzaghi, Hernan Crespo, Ruud van Nistrelrooy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
But he later wasted an opportunity to add another goal to his European collection by missing a last-minute penalty, seeing his tame attempted ‘Panenka’ chip palmed away by home keeper Johan Wiland.
It was Ronaldo’s first penalty failure on the European stage since his famous shoot-out miss for Manchester United against Chelsea in the 2008 final, and after the game he was acknowledged it was a poor effort.
“I’ve broken a record in the Champions League and I’m very happy,” Ronaldo said. “With the penalty I was a bit lackadaisical, but the important thing is that the team played well.
“All goals are important for the team to win and it was special today because of breaking the record. But the priority is winning trophies.”
It was Ronaldo’s first game back in action after a two-week absence with a minor thigh strain, and the flying winger believes he is already close to full fitness.
“I’m gradually getting there,” he said. “After being out for two weeks it took me a while to get up to pace. I played pretty well, not my best, but I helped the team with a goal.”
Before Ronaldo’s strike, another European record had already been set by Luka Modric’s excellent first half opener, which meant Madrid have now scored in 31 consecutive Champions League games – beating the previous mark held by Barcelona.
Ironically, the last time Los Blancos failed to score on the European stage was a 2-0 against Barca in a semi-final first leg at the Bernabeu in April 2011.
The two goals in Copenhagen also took Carlo Ancelotti’s team to a total of 20 goals in this season’s group stage, equalling the all-time competition record and beating their own previous tally by one.
And yet another club milestone was reached with Ronaldo’s strike, which was Madrid’s 800th goal in the Champions League and its predecessor the European Cup.
The fact that Bayern Munich are second on the list with a relatively meagre total of just 542 goals demonstrates just how dominant the Spanish side have been in the continent’s leading club competition since its inception in 1955, and with Ronaldo in such free-scoring form they can be confident of adding an historic tenth title in May.