Cristiano Ronaldo struck five goals into the back of the net against Espanyol on Saturday to break the record held by Raul and become Real Madrid’s all-time leading La Liga goal scorer.
What is so impressive about Ronaldo’s feat is not just the speed at which he accomplished it – 230 goals in 204 matches as opposed to Raul’s 228 in 550 – but the fact that CR7 isn’t really an out-and-out striker.
While Ronaldo’s goals have typically involved using pace or trickery of some kind to strike from the wing or outside, against Espanyol the former Manchester United man operated more like a traditional center forward. All five of his goals were converted with a single touch.
Seeing Ronaldo’s ruthless efficiency begs the question as to what kind of player he’d have been if he’d chosen to go the road of a true center forward earlier in his career. While he may not have become the true all-around attacker he is today, he’d surely have been among the greatest strikers in the history of the game.
After scoring a hat-trick in the first 20 minutes, Ronaldo set up Karim Benzema for Real’s fourth goal. Having gone into the halftime break up 4-0, Ronaldo struck twice more in the second half, lifting his side to a 6-0 victory over an Espanyol side that wasn’t sure what had hit it.
Having failed to score in either of Real Madrid’s opening two fixtures, Ronaldo ended his goal drought in emphatic fashion as his side recorded its second win of the season. Having put five unanswered goals past Real Betis just before the international break, Madrid’s frustrating scoreless draw with Sporting Gijon is rapidly fading into the distance.
Two points behind league leaders Barcelona, Rafa Benitez’s side sits in second place and will head into Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk with the confidence of knowing it can count the most in-form goal-scorer in Europe among its ranks.