Manchester United are heading into the last 16 of the Champions League, meaning that Cristiano Ronaldo is going to have at least two more potential outings to take in among the European elite this season.
Given his exploits for the Red Devils in the continental competition so far and his remarkable record on such a stage, fireworks are to be expected whenever the Portuguese superstar takes to the field.
He is a man that has made a habit of rewriting the history books and raising a bar of individual excellence to a height that few beyond a certain Lionel Messi can dare to dream of reaching. As someone that strives for, and often achieves, continuous improvement, the good news for Ronaldo is that – despite all that he has done in the game – there is always another target to be hit.
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Ronaldo’s mere presence for United means that those betting on the Champions League will feel there is value to be found in the Red Devils as 14/1 shots to go all the way this season – with Ralf Rangnick now calling the shots at Old Trafford. Any Champions League prediction will need to take him into account when the knockout stage starts, with United still a match for anyone on their day despite ongoing struggles for consistency that have delivered more changes on and off the field.
Ronaldo has lifted a famous jug-eared trophy on five occasions in his stunning career to date, with the first of those successes in 2008 coming while on the books at Old Trafford. He is back for more and is not someone that settles easily for second best.
Big players step up in the big moments ??
✨ @Cristiano #MUFC | #UCL pic.twitter.com/hCiHdiouXl
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 4, 2021
If United are to put themselves in contention for a shot at the ultimate prize, then Ronaldo can be expected to lead from the front. He has already registered vital efforts against Villarreal and Atalanta in the current campaign.
So prolific has he been that another notable mark is now in his sights – reaching a record-breaking 150 goals tally within the Champions League alone. That is a barely believable figure, but one that remains realistic for one of the very best in the business. After all, he is already the competition’s all-time leading scorer, by quite some distance, and one of only two men to have passed a century of efforts – the other being eternal rival Messi.
Very happy to become the first football player to score more than 800 official goals. What an amazing and unforgettable run this is becoming… Thank you to all my supporters for always standing by my side. 801 and still counting!???? pic.twitter.com/1UqngjqE8V
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 3, 2021
Ronaldo is also the greatest marksman that international football has ever seen, a man perched at the very top of a star-studded scoring chart at Real Madrid and someone with five Ballon d’Or to his name.
To him, the impossible is nothing. Through a combination of natural ability and relentless work ethic, there really is no glass ceiling that needs to be broken in order to remain on an upwards trajectory.
The clock is ticking on his career, as even apparently superhuman performers have to hang up their boots at some stage, but retirement remains some way off for now.
The question is, how many more Champions League appearances does Ronaldo have left? Will he reach the fabled 150-goal mark and lay down another notable marker? If his exploits to date have taught us anything, it would be foolish to bet against him.