Ronaldo repays football’s faith with record goals


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Last week, this website wrote about Real Madrid's brilliance on the break, and how it differs from 'parking the bus', after their 1-0 first-leg win over Bayern Munich.


While the performance in Munich was even better - possibly the best example of counter-attacking football in recent history - there's no need to retread the argument, even the evidence on Tuesday was more compelling.


This week's story is not about a team, a tactic or a coach, but a man - Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was not everyone's pick for the Ballon d'Or; some argued that Franck Ribery's treble-winning antics were worthy of more than third place; some insisted that, despite his injury problems and membership of a team in flux, Lionel Messi remains the world's best footballer and should thus have received the award again.

But Ronaldo was the stand-out player that year, and most agreed he deserved his award.

Any doubts about that must surely be laid to rest now.

Not just because he scored two fine goals in Madrid's demolition of Bayern in their backyard, the Spanish giants' first victory in Munich. Nor because his mere presence on the pitch is the axis on which their scintillating counter-attacking style is based.

Ronaldo's goals on Wednesday were his 15th and 16th in the competition this season, making him the highest goalscorer in a Champions League or European Cup campaign, having previously shared the record with Mazzola of the great Milan side of the 1960s, and of course Messi.

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It was a fitting moment for a player who, despite all his individual and collective achievements, is still doubted by some, and disliked by others on account of a flamboyant but utterly inoffensive image.

The next step, of course, is to win the tournament outright. Whoever Real face in the final will probably prove a sterner test than Bayern, who appear to have just one trick, highly effective though it is.

Chelsea and Atletico will fight fire with fire, sitting deep and playing on the break; the former are more effective defensively, the latter a more potent attacking threat.

Whoever Real face, it promises to be an enthralling affair - and one which will see the buoyant Carlo Ancelotti's side marked as clear favourites.

On Twitter @Reda_Eurosport

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