As the Manchester United star sets his sights on adding his name to new goalscoring records, Leicester stand in the way of the Portuguese’s mission to end his unlikely hoodoo against the Foxes
Even if it feels like a weekly event at his current rate, Cristiano Ronaldo simply loves breaking records — no matter how small.
If there are some things that never change in football, it is that the Portuguese superstar has a burning desire to score goals and an unrivalled ambition to see his name in the headlines.
It is only made more evident by his body language on the pitch when his team-mates decide to shoot themselves instead of pass to him. When they do, the ball usually ends up crashing into the back fo the net.
Only on Wednesday, the 36-year-old broke new ground with his 58th career hat-trick, scoring three goals against Luxembourg in a 5-0 thrashing for Portugal.
Not only did that extend his international tally to 115 goals in 183 caps, he has now racked up 10 hat-tricks for his country — more than any other men’s player in history.
When he broke the all-time international record back in September, Ronaldo told his 355 million Instagram followers just what it meant to add the individual honour to his collection.
“From all the records that I have broken during my career – and fortunately there have been a few – this one is very special for me and it’s certainly on the shelf of the achievements that make me truly proud,” he said.
Ronaldo is driven by a relentless desire to succeed, both on a personal and collective level. If he is top scorer in a tournament that his team wins, that is a double bonus.
Ronaldo has faced 31 teams whilst playing in the Premier League with Manchester United and, impressively, has scored against 25 of them.
Aston Villa are his favourite opposition after scoring eight goals in 13 appearances against the Midlands outfit, while his double against Newcastle United on his second debut took his tally to seven in 11 games.
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But in Ronaldo’s mind, that only means that his work remains unfinished and where possible, he will aim to rectify it by putting them to the sword.
The only team Ronaldo has faced in the Premier League without scoring against who are currently outside of the top flight are Sheffield United, so he may have to wait until potentially next season to notch against the Blades.
But the Portuguese will be eager to cross Leicester off his list this weekend, having failed to score in their only previous meeting back in the 2003-04 season.
The Foxes were a completely different side back then and attempting to stave off relegation, so it was no surprise that United went on to win the game 1-0 thanks to Paul Scholes’ strike.
Ronaldo played the entire 90 minutes at Old Trafford that day but the winger, only 19 at the time, was still adjusting to life in England. He was also an unused substitute for the 4-1 win at Filbert Street earlier in the season, denying him the chance to get on the scoresheet.
But now, some 17 years later, Ronaldo has the chance to cross another name off his list of clubs he has scored against.
If he manages to breach the Foxes’ defence, Leicester would become the 120th different club he has scored against in his illustrious career.
It would mark a truly phenomenal achievement, even by Ronaldo’s standard — and one that would automatically take him one step closer to a unique record that perhaps only he can break.
He could become the first player to score 100 goals in both of the Premier League and LaLiga should he see out his two-year contract with the Red Devils.
Ronaldo has already smashed records to pieces in Spain, scoring 310 goals in 292 La Liga appearances to become Real Madrid ’s all-time top goalscorer. But he is still some 16 goals short of reaching the century for Manchester United, having accumulated 81 goals in his first stint in Manchester.
Having already struck three goals in the Premier League this season, Ronaldo will surely fancy his chances of becoming the only player to surpass a century of goals in England and Spain.
And with more goals arriving, more records will surely tumble. He is also closing on his 800th career goal, needing only six more to reach the milestone, with United’s derby against Manchester City a potential setting for the event.
At some stage, Ronaldo will inevitably reach the point where there are no more records to break other than his extending his own.
But for now, he has to try to find a way past Brendan Rodgers’ side as he edges closer to another individual feat.