Cristiano Ronaldo ‘s two goals against Arsenal on Thursday night meant he became the first active footballer to reach the remarkable landmark of 800 goals (and 801) across his career in the top game.
The Manchester United forward – who returned to the club this summer following 12 years away – has established himself as one of the greatest goal scorers of all time in his near two-decade long spell in the game.
Indeed, his 450 goals in just 438 appearances in the Spanish capital (take a moment to re-read that stat!) are an all-time club record – despite it encompassing less than half of Ronaldo’s career.
The Portuguese superstar is also the highest international goal scorer of all time, surpassing Ali Daei’s long-standing record earlier this year.
Here are 10 of his best ever strikes – encompassing what makes Ronaldo such a phenomenon.
10) Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid, 2012
What marks Ronaldo out as one of the greatest goal scorers to ever grace the pitch was his audacity to score goals that other players would not even attempt.
In a Madrid derby at Rayo, a corner came into the home side’s box and led to a goalmouth scramble before dropping to the Portuguese, who had his back to goal.
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Ronaldo took two steps backward to reach the ball before backheeling it through a crowd of players and into the corner of the net from 12 yards out.
It was a remarkable show of his vision and awareness, and another statement of his sky-high confidence and self-belief.
This goal – at the foot of a top 10 list – would be one of the greatest scored by almost any other player.
9) Man United v Portsmouth, 2008
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The Portuguese superstar was, by 2008, firmly establishing himself as one of the world’s greatest talents and this display against Portsmouth reaffirmed it.
He scored twice in the space of three minutes to win the game, firstly combining excellently in a one-two with Nani before producing a free-kick that became one of the most iconic Premier League goals ever.
Lining up a free-kick from 25 yards, Ronaldo lashed the ball with incredible pace and power into the very top corner – giving visiting goalkeeper David James no chance.
What made the strike so remarkable was how quickly it elevated over the wall before dipping, ever so slightly, right into the corner of the net.
8) Real Madrid v Valencia, 2014
This was the goal that best shows Ronaldo’s combined technical genius, audacity and his ability to pull a rabbit out of the hat when his team need him most.
With Real Madrid trailing 2-1 at home to Valencia in injury time, Angel Di Maria played a low ball into the box but it was behind the Portuguese, who had been hoping for an aerial delivery.
Ronaldo showed supreme improvisation to flick out his boot and casually backheel the ball into the net.
Out of nothing, he made the difference.
7) Real Madrid v Sevilla, 2013
This was a goal that could not have been scored by any other player in the world at this time – no, not even the magestic Lionel Messi – such was its combination of movement, awareness of space, technical ability, physical power and utter dominance.
Everything about this was vintage Ronaldo.
Starting 35 yards from goal, a stepover took the Portuguese away from a Sevilla challenge before he took one touch and unlashed an unstoppable effort across the goalkeeper and into the corner of the net.
It was stunning, and all the more so as it came on Ronaldo’s weaker left foot.
This was a typical Ronaldo shot which he almost invented – one that dipped and swerved all over the place in front of goal before eventually settling in that one spot that no goalkeeper can reach.
6) Arsenal v Man United, 2009
Manchester United were romping their way home to a third successive Premier League title and their second Champions League final in a row.
Even better for Sir Alex Ferguson’s brilliant side, they were doing it against long-term arch-rivals Arsenal, whom they dismantled 4-1 on aggregate in the semi-final.
Ronaldo scored two brilliant goals in this game; a long-range free-kick (which goalkeeper Manuel Almunia should have saved, despite its dip and swerve) and a breakaway third goal.
With United cruising at a three-goal aggregate advantage, the Gunners were camped in their half before Ferguson’s side – the counter-attacking masters – sprung.
Ronaldo collected the ball just outside United’s own area, with his clever backheel setting away Park Ji-Sung, who burst up the pitch before an incisive ball left to Wayne Rooney – sprinting unmarked into the Gunners half.
Rooney reached the edge of the area, took a swift glance to his right, and picked out the incoming Ronaldo, who had peeled away from the defender and slid in to fire home past Almunia.
It was nine seconds between Ronaldo collecting the ball 75 yards from goal and the ball ending up in the back of the net.
On that stage, it was stunning.
5) Portugal v Spain, 2018
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Talking about big stages, they do not come any bigger than the World Cup and Ronaldo produced a wonderful hat-trick in a pulsating 3-3 draw for Portugal against Iberian rivals Spain.
The forward profited from a David De Gea goalkeeping error and a penalty in the first-half, but Portugal trailed 3-2 going into the closing stages of the game.
Portugal had a free-kick, dead central, 25 yards out from goal.
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Ronaldo stood over it and, in his typical fashion, picked out the top corner of the net – the ball rising over the wall before flatlining and homing in on its inevitable target.
4) Juventus v Sampdoria, 2019
Cristiano Ronaldo’s most defining asset was his physicality and athleticism, which was on display for a goal that made social media explode with wonder.
After a lengthy passing move, Juventus worked the ball out to the left with Alex Sandro delivering the ball into the back post area.
Ronaldo rises to meet the ball, jumping so high and hanging in the air for so long that his feet are almost at the opposition defender’s shoulders, before heading powerfully across the goal and into the net.
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Like so many others on this list, this was a goal that only Ronaldo could have scored – combining his natural scoring instinct with his incomparable physique in his most memorable goal for Juventus.
3) Barcelona v Real Madrid, 2017
Cristiano Ronaldo netted a remarkable 18 goals in El Clasico fixtures against Barcelona for Real Madrid, but his solo effort at the Camp Nou in the 2017 Spanish Super Cup topped them all.
As with his goal at Arsenal, this was a world class counter-attack but unlike that strike in North London, this was all about him.
The move started after a Barca corner was cleared, Ronaldo chested the ball into the path of Isco who – deep in his own half – sprung Ronaldo clear down the left.
Getty Images Europe)
Despite being 50 yards out from goal, there was panic stations for Barca with Gerard Pique desperately sprinting back, but Ronaldo now had the ball under his spell and had advanced to the edge of the area.
The Portuguese cut inside and unleashed an unstoppable right-foot piledriver into the top corner.
He celebrated by ripping off his shirt and revealing his toned physique to the home fans, of course.
2) Porto v Man United, 2009
There are not many words that can be used to describe this goal, other than it was simply remarkable.
Ronaldo picked the ball up over 35 yards from Porto’s goal, took one touch, then fired an unstoppable bullet-like effort into the top corner.
This was a Champions League quarter-final and this was the decisive goal, which made it all the more remarkable, but this would have been unforgettable even in a low-key defeat.
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It was one of the best ever goals to be scored in the competition and, like so many of Ronaldo’s best, it was out of nothing.
1) Juventus v Real Madrid, 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo’s “best and favourite goal” was a crucial, memorable, Champions League moment against a side he would join months later.
Perhaps that decision was fuelled by the Juventus fans applauding the overhead kick, which was a world-class moment at a decisive time in the encounter.
Dani Carvajal’s cross into the box was a poor one, but Ronaldo had lost his marker, nipped in front of the awaiting Juventus defence and in one moment of instinct, hit and overhead kick into the net.
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It was Ronaldo’s best goal, in his own words: “It is a bit unlucky but unfortunately, I have to mention that I scored my favourite ever goal against my current team Juventus F.C. [his overhead kick goal in the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2018] and past my great friend Gianluigi Buffon!
“I would say that is my best and favourite goal that I’ve ever scored in my career.”
It would be hard to argue with the man himself – who was not short on memorable moments!