Eight hundred and one. And counting. The greatest, proven, goalscorer in football history returned to the Manchester United fold, rewrote the record books and demonstrated why the era of Cristiano Ronaldo is far from at an end.
Two goals, one a penalty, were enough to give Michael Carrick a valuable unbeaten run as interim’s interim, and make Ronaldo the first player to 800 competitive goals, despite some lurid claims from elsewhere. Hungary claim Lajos Tichy had nearer to 2,000; the Czechs also state four figures for Josip Bican; and Pele is credited with 1,000 plus.
Yet not one of these totals can be substantiated. Ronaldo’s can: five for Sporting Lisbon, 450 with Real Madrid, 101 at Juventus, 115 in the national shirt of Portugal and now 130 across two spells at Manchester United. And he’s not finished.
He didn’t settle for 800 when Martin Atkinson belatedly pointed to the spot, having been steered by VAR. No chance of Bruno Fernandes taking the ball this time.
Once Atkinson saw the light over Martin Odegaard’s foul on Fred, there was only one man in charge. Ronaldo’s blast gave Aaron Ramsdale no chance. Never in doubt.