In 2009, the £80m Real Madrid shelled out for Cristiano Ronaldo felt like an absurd amount of money for a footballer. Obscene, even.

Manchester United weren't complaining - even though they had lost their most outstanding match-winner, the player who won the Ballon d'Or just months earlier, to the club Sir Alex Ferguson insisted he wouldn't sell a virus to in December 2008.

£80m, after all, was a fair price for a man who was desperate to join Real Madrid - and had been offered assurances about his world-record move to the Spanish capital 12 months earlier.

But four-and-a-half years down the line and £80m no longer seems so absurd, after all. In fact, if anything, the only club who did well out of the deal was Real Madrid.

Some would even say they landed the bargain of the century.

A quick look over his goals record since arriving in Spain suggests that assessment may very well be accurate.

In 217 matches, Ronaldo has scored an astonishing 226 goals. Astonishing, remarkable, extraordinary - in truth, no superlative can do that statistic any sort of justice.

The Portuguese star essentially guarantees Real Madrid a goal every time he takes to the field. For £80m - that's pretty cheap.

Ronaldo is anything but a flat-track bully; he scores goals against all opponents in all competitions. Not only that, but he scores every type of goal: tap-ins, headers, free-kicks, penalties, left-foot screamers, right-foot rockets - you name it, he scores it.

Miraculously, Ronaldo seems to have improved this season. It didn't seem possible. But after scoring 25 goals in his first 18 matches, the former Red Devils' star is firmly on course to smash all of his previous goalscoring records.

And if the odds are to be believed, he will pick up his second Ballon d'Or award in January - beating Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery to the prestigious individual accolade which he so badly craves.

It's that hunger and commitment which makes him, arguably, the world's best player.

Never mind £80m, Manchester United should have demanded £180m back in 2009.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Ronaldo
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid
La Liga