We take a look at the top 7 most surprising records set by the Portuguese phenomenon Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I don’t chase records, the records chase me” were the famous words of the Portuguese phenomenon who has not only broken records, but totally eclipsed them during his illustrious career.
Though he’s not stopping there. At the age of 36 and reaching the twilight of his powers, we take a look at the Cristiano Ronaldo records which have redefined football history and may never be broken again
1. Record number of Champions League appearances – 178 appearances
Ronaldo began his illustrious European career in the 2002/2003 season at the age of just 18, when Manchester United’s trip to Stuttgart ended in a 2-1 defeat, though this match did not set the tone for what was to come.
After his 52 appearances during his first spell in Manchester which included the famous night in Moscow after a dramatic final which the Old Trafford won on penalties against Chelsea, was the first of five Champions League trophies – the highest number won by a player.
During his time in the Spanish capital of Madrid, Ronaldo’s records continued to be birthed as he helped Real win ‘La Decima’ alongside a further three Champions League victories in 101 European appearances for Los Blancos.
The forward overtook former teammate Iker Casillas who previously held the record with 177 appearances – the last coming in April 2017 during his time with Porto.
Ronaldo’s record does have an active threat though – none other than Lionel Messi – who has 150 Champions League appearances and is two years younger than the Portuguese.
If Ronaldo can continue to stay fit, he could achieve the 200-appearance milestone in three seasons provided he plays every game and Manchester United make it to at least the last 16 in each season.
2. Most goals in football history – 790
Ronaldo became the holder of yet another impressive record – scoring the most goals in football history.
The record-breaking goal came whilst playing for Juventus in January 2021 where his goal took him above Josef Biscan’s former record of 759.
The Portuguese forward has since improved on his own record, with the tally now sitting at 790 goals in 1081 appearances and counting following his move to Manchester United in the summer.
3. Most goals in European Championships history – 14
Ronaldo’s first European Championships appearance came as a baby-faced player aged just 18 in his home country, despite only making seven tentative appearances prior to the tournament.
Though he started on the bench for their first game it would ultimately be the last time it would be the case after quickly becoming the starlet in a side with Luis Figo, Pauleta and Rui Costa.
“Forget the individual trophies, Champions League – this [winning the EUROs with Portugal] is one of the happiest moments of my life.”Cristiano Ronaldo’s reaction following Portugal’s first European Championships victory in 2016
Despite the tournament ending in heartache for Ronaldo following Greece’s dramatic victory, the forward would later go on to captain his country their historic 2016 EUROs win while becoming the tournaments highest ever goal scorer – eclipsing Michel Platini’s previous record of 9.
He also holds the record for the most international hat-tricks (9) and the most international teams a player has scored against – 45 nations and counting.
4. The only player to score 100 or more goals in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.
He came, he scored, he conquered – everywhere he went.
Ronaldo is the only player to hold this record following his journey with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.
After scoring 118 goals in his first period at Old Trafford, the forward went on to become Madrid’s greatest ever goal scorer with an astounding 450 goals in just 438 games with Los Blancos.
His journey then led him to northern Italy aged 33 where he plied his trade in Serie A for Juventus following his £100m move from Real Madrid.
In his three years in Turin, the forward continued his emphatic goal-scoring record by scoring 101 goals in 134 games – winning two Serie A titles in the process.
5. Ronaldo has scored in every single minute of a game
A stark warning for all defenders worldwide – you have to concentrate the for the full 90 minutes when coming up against Cristiano Ronaldo.
The forward has scored a goal in each minute of a game with a goal in the first, second, tenth minute and so on.
The record was completed when he scored – poetically – in the 7th minute against Atletico Madrid in 2017 from the penalty spot.
Only one other player can boast the same record – current Atletico Madrid and former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez who completed the set last month following his goal against Getafe.
6. The only Manchester United player to win the European Golden Shoe award
A surprising record given the wealth of fine goal scorers who have put on the famous red shirt including the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Andy Cole and Wayne Rooney.
The European Golden Shoe award is given to the player who scores the most goals in a league season within the top European leagues.
The record-breaking campaign from Ronaldo came in Manchester United’s memorable 2007/2008 season after scoring 31 goals in the league – a record at the time since beaten by Liverpool’s Mo Salah – which contributed to yet another title and a further Champions League crown.
“He was the last one to leave the building. In fact, you couldn’t get him [Ronaldo] off the training pitch as he worked relentlessly on his technique.”Sir Alex Ferguson on Cristiano Ronaldo following his return to Manchester United in 2021.
Since then, the forward has won the award three more times – once in 2011 after scoring an incredible 40 league goals, followed by the sharing of the award with Luis Suarez in 2014 with 31 goals each.
His most recent award came during the best league return of his career after scoring 48 league goals in the 2014/2015 season.
Only one man in history has scored more league goals in a single season than Ronaldo – an Argentinian forward named Lionel Messi who scored 50 goals in the 2011/2012 season.
You may have heard of him.
7. The most expensive player in Italian football history
A £100m price tag for any other 33-year-old would raise the eyebrows of many, however Ronaldo was not the typical 33-year-old.
On the back of a La Liga victory and his fifth Champions League success, Juventus secured the Portuguese’s services on a three-year contract with the aim of bringing a trophy he knows too well – the Champions League – back to Turin.
Though the Old Lady were unable to win another European crown with Ronaldo in the side – namely due to managerial changes – he helped secure two Serie A titles, two Italian Super Cups and one Coppa Italia trophy – his time in Italy wasn’t short of silverware.
Ronaldo had previously held the record as the most expensive footballer in history following his £80m move from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 which stood for four years – Gareth Bale being the player to overthrow the record as he also moved to Madrid in an £85m deal from Tottenham in 2013.