Ronaldo’s hat-trick in Real Madrid’s 3-0 defeat of Atletico Madrid has relaunched him into the path of retaining his reign as UEFA Champions League top scorer for another season.
His reign looked as good as over going into the quarterfinals. But suddenly, the flamboyant striker is back in contention.
Five goals across the two legs against Bayern Munich and his hat-trick at home to Atlético Madrid mean he is right back in contention.
The question however remains if he will outscore his fiercest rival, Lionel Messi of the domestic rivals, FC Barcelona.
Ronaldo had scored just two goals from his first eight outings of this continental campaign, and ahead of the quarter-finals he was nine adrift of frontrunner Messi.
Yet a sensational return to scoring form promptly made him the first man to net 100 goals in European Cup competition and then the first to hit 100 in UEFA Champions League, putting his great rival from Barcelona back in his sights.
He has even now matches Messi’s record of seven UEFA Champions League hat-tricks.
With Messi unable to add to his tally following Barcelona’s elimination, and a potential two games left, could Ronaldo finish top of the pile yet again?
If he manages at least a share of the lead, he will break yet another record: the first player to finish European Cup top scorer (or equal top scorer) for five seasons running.
Most Successive Seasons As Top Scorer
Nos. Player Club Seasons
4 Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16
4 Lionel Messi FC Barcelona 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12
3 Gerd Müller Bayern 1972/73, 1973/74, 1974/75
3 Jean Pierre Papin Marseille/Milan 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92
2016/17 UEFA Champions League Top Scorers
Goals Player Club
11 Lionel Messi Barcelona
10 Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid
8 Edinson Cavan PSG
8 Robert Lewandowski Bayern
7 Pierre Aubameyang Dortmund