It’s just a number, but what a number. Seven hundred club goals. There was more than the Brazilian Ronaldo and Marco van Basten together. More than the trio of Gary Lineker, Bobby Charlton and Paolo Rossi got when their efforts were combined. Sevenhundred.
Two decades and two days after he first scored for Sporting Lisbon against Moreirense, Cristiano Ronaldo became the founding member of the 700 club in familiar fashion. Few have interfered from the left wing with such regularity and such vigor. The driving run, the drilled finish, the sheer professionalism of scoring goals: That was Ronaldo in a nutshell.
He has averaged 35 a year for his clubs – even without his century international goals – and has done so for 20 years, despite being a showpony on the wing for the first few years. Since becoming more determined to score goals in 2006, he has averaged over 40 a season. He averaged 50 a year for Real Madrid and there were nine seasons at the Bernabeu. Only two of those 700 have come for Erik ten Hag but the Manchester United manager was quick to appreciate the achievement. “If you score 700 goals, that’s a huge achievement, I’m very happy for him. I congratulate him on this achievement,” he said.
Frank Lampard specializes in scoring goals. He netted a record total for Chelsea. He played until he was 38 and scored 274 times in association football. That’s still 426 fewer than Ronaldo. “It’s outstanding,” said the Everton coach. “He’s one of the greatest players to grace the game.” It was Lampard who brought up the subject of Lionel Messi in his lavish tribute. “The numbers they accumulated, abnormal numbers have become normal,” he said.
But perhaps Bruno Fernandes put it best. “It’s hard to keep counting goals for Ronaldo because every week seems like a new record,” said his compatriot. Maybe it takes selfishness to accumulate so many, to ask for free kicks and penalties, to have an absurdly low body fat percentage; The puppy flab he was carrying when he first met is long shed. He’s been trying to slow down the aging process while his ongoing hunger for goals is.
As he was aiming for his 701st, there was a moment in the second half when Seamus Coleman cleared a Marcus Rashford cross. If that wasn’t an exception, the relevant part was that Ronaldo had sprinted past a multitude of players from his own half, knees pumping, to become the furthest man forward should Coleman miss him. He ran with a point to prove, but maybe even when it came to winning his private fight with Messi, he always needed to rack up more and more records and take his goals to new spheres; Not since Vasco da Gama has a Portuguese spent so much time in previously uncharted territory.
And yet he was confined to a terrain he had long hated this season: the bench where he spent the entire Manchester derby. Ronaldo has been at rock bottom since his founding days. He could be United’s third-choice striker. He was dropped and demoted, the superstar replacement. He is in decline and the club he propelled to rare heights in 2008 had their worst season since the 1980s on his return. He’s a man of the time, the reluctant Presser. He’s the legend who was unwanted in the summer transfer market.
And yet there are moments when he feels timeless even in the midst of the most chaste phase of his career. Put Ronaldo through goal against an Everton team with the best defensive record in the Premier League and he scores. Go back to March and a hat-trick against Tottenham was another reminder that a brilliant finish and a strong personality can be enough. It’s not always like this: It’s possible to marvel at Ronaldo’s stats and his influence over the years and still feel it’s time to speed up the future and argue that United, blinded by stardust , made a mistake bringing him back and Ten Hag is right to oust him. After all, he is now 18 goals behind Erling Haaland, neither the best striker in Manchester nor arguably right for United given the different qualities of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.
But these are separate subjects. Ronaldo can play until he’s 40 – he might even feel the 2022 World Cup won’t be his last – but he and United could be headed for a divorce. This can allow for a broader reflection of his efforts. The immediacy can obscure the enormity of anything. Ronaldo has scored at Goodison Park in 2005 and 2022; He has spanned eras, playing against Everton sides featuring Nigel Martyn and Anthony Gordon. His first goal for Sporting comes closer to Hamburg’s European Cup win, Aston Villa’s European Super Cup win and Bob Paisley’s Liverpool manager than on that day.
He is also a historical figure in other respects. He is the record goalscorer in the history of Real Madrid and Portugal, Champions League and international football. If you include his goals for Portugal, he has 817. He turned 38 in February. Logically, he cannot reach 1,000 either. But logic alone would never have suggested that football’s most famous No.7 would have scored 700 goals in club play alone.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/cristiano-ronaldo-manchester-united-b2199203.html Cristiano Ronaldo is running out of time but the Man United superstar continues to defy logic