When the season began, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Cristiano Ronaldo would become the first player to rack up 100 Champions League goals.
“Although it was Lionel Messi who had broken Raul’s record of 71 strikes in Europe’s premier cup competition in 2014, Ronaldo had stormed past his great rival by netting 16 times during Real Madrid’s triumph last season.
That had taken the Portugal superstar to 93 goals in the Champions League proper, 10 ahead of Messi. However, while Ronaldo had a relatively quiet to start to Madrid’s bid for a 12th European Cup triumph, netting just twice in six group-stage appearances, Messi caught fire again.
The Argentine kicked off his campaign with three of Barcelona’s seven goals in their demolition of Celtic at Camp Nou to take outright possession of the Champions League hat-tricks record that he had shared with Ronaldo.
Messi bagged another treble in his next outing, against Manchester City, before scoring again in the return leg at the Etihad. Then, after a double at Celtic Park, and a solitary strike against Borussia Monchengladbach on matchday six, Messi now sits on 93 goals, just two behind Ronaldo.
Ronaldo will, therefore, be desperate to rediscover his scoring touch when the Champions League resumes this week.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner is in the midst of the longest drought of his Champions League career, having gone 433 minutes without finding the back of the net, but no player has scored more times in the knockout stage (44) and he will be looking to add to his impressive tally when Real host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
However, Messi will have the opportunity to close the gap on Ronaldo in the race to 100 when Barcelona travel to Parc des Prince the night before to face Paris Saint-Germain.
So, the stage is perfectly set for two of the greatest players of all time to continue their battle to become the first centurion in Champions League his