Cristiano Ronaldo will be rubbing his hands together at the prospect of another challenge in the Champions League this season.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner will have been keenly interested through UEFA’s bungled draw for the round of 16 fixtures, which ultimately saw Manchester United pitted against Atletico Madrid.
And while Ronaldo is somewhat notorious for producing some of his best football against Atletico, any team to draw United would have been quaking in their boots about facing the Portuguese.
Ronaldo’s Champions League brilliance
Besides, no matter who you consider to be the greatest male footballer of all time, you’d be hard-pressed to dispute that Ronaldo is the finest player that the Champions League has ever seen.
Having lifted ‘Big Ears’ on five separate occasions with two clubs, amassing a record number of goals and assists along the way, Ronaldo really is untouchable in Europe’s premier competition.
Brentford vs Manchester United OFF (Football Terrace)
However, what arguably makes him even more incredible compared to his rivals is that he produces so many of his outrageous Champions League statistics in the biggest games of all.
After all, it’s quite interesting to note that – despite Ronaldo comfortably being the competition’s record scorer – Lionel Messi is actually the most ever prolific marksmen in the group stages.
Greatest goalscorers in CL knockout games
But alas, Ronaldo thrives more than anyone when the chips are down and we wanted to take a look at his knockout-stage record in particular as we start looking toward this year’s round of 16.
And using data collected by StatBunker, we can indeed reveal every player to have scored at least 10 goals in the knockout stages of the Champions League since its rebranding in 1992.
The result? Further proof that Ronaldo really is the greatest Champions League player in history, but be sure to check out who comes the closest to challenging his throne with the full list down below:
=18. Sadio Mane – 10
=18. Samuel Eto’o – 10
=18. Fernando Torres – 10
=18. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 10
17. Kaka – 11
16. Thierry Henry – 12
=13. Kylian Mbappe – 13
=13. Neymar – 13
=13. Luis Suarez – 13
=11. Wayne Rooney – 14
=11. Didier Drogba – 14
10. Frank Lampard – 15
=8. Filippo Inzaghi – 16
=8. Arjen Robben – 16
=5. Andriy Shevchenko – 18
=5. Karim Benzema – 18
=5. Raul – 18
4. Thomas Muller – 24
3. Robert Lewandowski – 26
2. Lionel Messi – 49
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – 67
Ronaldo blows everyone away
This is insane. Ronaldo being top in any circumstances would solidify his GOAT status, but the fact that he has scored almost 20 more knockout-stage goals than Messi is frankly mind-boggling.
Things get even crazier when you go down the list, too, because Ronaldo finds himself 49 strikes in the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final ahead of fellow Real Madrid legend Raul in fifth.
Other notable rankings see Lampard reminding the world of his outrageous goalscoring record for a midfielder up in 10th and Robben can also hold his head up high considered he played out wide.
And you can rest assured that Mbappe will be challenging more than a few Champions League records in his day because he’s already surpassed Henry, Torres and Eto’o at just 22 years old.
However, even in a world where Mbappe hoovers up Ballon d’Or titles like they’re going out of fashion, he’ll do well to top Ronaldo’s record in Champions League football. Remarkable stuff.