Cristiano Ronaldo has been stuck on 98 European club competition goals since September even as Real Madrid progressed through the UEFA Champions League before striking twice to reach his century in Wednesday’s 2-1 win at Bayern München.
It was clear from his expression after getting his second that the goal meant even more to him than simply giving his side the quarter-final first-leg lead. “I’m very happy,” Ronaldo told UEFA.com. “I really wanted to reach this milestone.”
A full 659 minutes had passed since Cristiano Ronaldo’s previous UEFA Champions League goal – his longest barren spell in the competition for Madrid – when he ghosted into the Bayern penalty area and volleyed in from Dani Carvajal’s cross equalise 47th minute, before poking the winner through Manuel Neuer’s legs half an hour later. “Those who doubt Cristiano are wrong,” said Marcelo.
Ronaldo himself added: “It’s an honour to reach this number. And to do it against a team as great as Bayern makes it feel even better.”
It had been a frustrating first half for the Portugal forward and his team-mates, Bayern controlling possession and giving away few opportunities for Madrid to attack. But a penalty miss from Arturo Vidal just before the break, Ronaldo’s equaliser and then a red card for Javi Martínez turned the game. It was Martínez’s replacement Juan Bernat that Ronaldo beat to the ball for the winner.
“I think we contained Cristiano well until Javi Martínez’s red card,” said Bayern coach and Ronaldo’s former boss Carlo Ancelotti. “But in the end, his quality shone through and he decided the match with his two goals.”
Ever the perfectionist, the 32-year-old Ronaldo was not completely satisfied with his record-breaking performance, according to his coach Zinédine Zidane. “He was happy, but not so much because he knew he could have scored a third,” the Frenchman revealed. “This is the level of his ambition.”
Ronaldo is no stranger to breaking records but he is aware that this night could have ended very differently. “Bayern should have scored a second from the penalty in the first half,” he admitted. “But football is a box of surprises and five minutes can change everything.”
The reigning champions went on to win the game 2-1, but the hero on the night insists the tie is far from over ahead of Tuesdy’s return. “They are a great team, we know the second leg will be tough,” Ronaldo warned. “But we have the advantage and will play at home. We are hoping to reach the semi-finals.”
As the season approaches its climax, the record-breaker is working hard to stay in form and in shape. “I’m in good condition,” he told. “I’ve made radical changes to my training regime to get to this stage of the season in the best possible shape. In recent years, I have reached my limit by the end of the season and had little injuries, but I’ve worked hard with a fitness coach to be ready for the final two months. I want to help Madrid with the league and the Champions League.”