For many footballers, the mid-30s are a time to get the comfy slippers out. Sure, you might be called upon once in a while during an injury crisis, but the majority of your remaining years as a player will essentially be spent dropping down the leagues, sat on the bench or watching games from the stands.
Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t a normal footballer. He doesn’t fall into ‘the majority’.
??? goals, ??? happy moments, ??? smiles in the faces of our supporters. Thank you to all the players and coaches that helped me reach this amazing number, thank you to all my loyal opponents that made me work harder and harder everyday. pic.twitter.com/ZuS4GDOzeh
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 2, 2020
The Juventus hitman has decided to spend his mid-30s smashing a whole host of landmarks and even has the title of the most prolific international marksman in history in his sights.
The Portuguese forward bagged his 750th career goal against Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday night, and we’ve taken the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane and recall some landmark moments from the 35-year-old’s goal-filled career.
Where it all began.
The Portuguese hitman’s first career goal came during his time at Sporting CP, and in true Ronaldo style he decided to double his account in the very same game as his side strolled to a 3-0 win over Moreirense.
Curiously, the winger added just one further league goal to his tally for the remainder of the campaign, yet he’d still shown enough promise to lure Sir Alex Ferguson into bringing him to Old Trafford.
Cristiano Ronaldo bagged his first United goal in 2003 / ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images
Having moved to Manchester United it took no time at all for the former Sporting man to showcase his talent.
On 1 November 2003 the winger bagged a free-kick at home to Portsmouth – ironically, it would be the exact same fixture a few years later where he would truly display his ludicrous ability from set pieces – and the journey which saw him bag 118 goals for the Red Devils was underway.
They say you never forget your first, though in truth you wouldn’t blame Ronaldo if he had forgotten his first piece of major silverware, given that it was against second tier Millwall.
Not only was it his first piece of major silverware, it was his first goal in major final, too, as he opened the scoring in Manchester United’s 2004 FA Cup triumph.
Cristiano Ronaldo at his first international major tournament / MLADEN ANTONOV/Getty Images
Ronaldo’s first international goal (typically) came on one of football’s grandest stages.
The Portuguese hitman grabbed a late consolation as his side suffered a 2-1 defeat to Greece in the group stages of the 2004 European Championships, with the pair going on to meet in the final of the competition – where the Greeks would yet again prevail.
[email protected] fires in his second en route to a hat-trick v Newcastle in 2008. #MUFC pic.twitter.com/X5l9VX2Ya4
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 18, 2017
Having started life at United as an orthodox winger, it wasn’t long before Ronaldo transformed into more of a wide forward, and the goals soon came flooding in.
His hat-trick against Newcastle in 2008 was surprisingly his only one for the club, though there would be PLENTY more once he moved to Real Madrid.
The former Manchester United man bagged his 100th career goal at Spurs / CARL DE SOUZA/Getty Images
Ronaldo scored a total of 118 goals in his 292 appearances for the Red Devils, and his 100th career goal came at Old Trafford against Tottenham, with a typical darting run and powerful front-post strike.
The 23-year-old achieved the feat of 100 career goals at the same age as Portuguese legend Eusebio.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th goal for #mufc when the Reds beat Stoke City at Old Trafford in 2008. ? https://t.co/xqiTVrdVcX
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 1, 2016
What better way to mark your 100th goal for one of the biggest clubs in the world than with a 30-yard piledriver.
Admittedly, Thomas Sorensen flapped at the free kick like he’d never seen a football in his life, but why let a little goalkeeping howler get in the way of a fantastic achievement.
Having achieved just about everything there was to achieve with Manchester United, Ronaldo secured a dream move to Real Madrid, and it didn’t take long for him to open his account.
The forward scored from the penalty spot to secure a 3-2 win over Deportivo La Coruna on his debut, and would go on to score in every one of his next three games for the club.
Ronaldo’s 200th career goal came against Valencia in December 2010 / Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
At just 25 years of age the hitman already had 200 career goals to his name.
Having peeled onto the left-hand side, Ronaldo was picked out by Mesut Ozil (remember him?). The forward took one touch to compose himself before rifling a fierce left-footed drive across goal and into the bottom corner.
Nine years since Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League brace against Lyon ?pic.twitter.com/gK1fcCooaa
— Goal (@goal) November 2, 2020
Having watched Lionel Messi notch his 200th goal for Barcelona the day before, Ronaldo saw his opportunity to steal some of the limelight away from his old foe – and he did just that.
He scored both goals in his side’s 2-0 win over Lyon in the Champions League, securing progression through to the next round of the competition and clocking up 100 goals for Real in the process.
Ronaldo records his 100th La Liga goal in March 2012 / DOMINIQUE FAGET/Getty Images
Having scored 100 goals for the club, Ronaldo didn’t have to wait too long before notching his 100th La Liga goal for Los Blancos.
The Portugal international scored twice against Real Sociedad in a thumping 5-1 win, subsequently becoming the fastest player ever to reach the milestone in Spain’s top flight.
The 300th goal of Ronaldo’s career came from the penalty spot, as he levelled the scored late on against Granada.
Los Blancos would go on to grab a dramatic late winner as they continued to steamroll their way through the league on their way to the La Liga crown.
#TalDíaComoHoy en 2⃣0⃣1⃣2⃣, Cristiano Ronaldo logró este ‘hat-trick’ contra el Ajax ⚽⚽⚽?#UCL | @Cristiano | @realmadrid pic.twitter.com/MLnuZypJYR
— Liga de Campeones (@LigadeCampeones) October 3, 2020
It almost seems weird it took Ronaldo so long to register his first hat-trick in the Champions League.
In 2012 the Madrid frontman bagged three goal as his side recorded a comfortable 4-1 win over Ajax in the group stages. Despite Ronaldo finishing the competition as the leading goalscorer, it wasn’t enough to secure another European trophy.
Ronaldo scored his 200th career goal back in May 2013 / Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Four years into his career at the Santiago Bernabeu and Ronaldo already had club records in his sight.
His 200th goal for the club came in an incredible 197 games, and in just four seasons he already sat sixth in the club’s all-time record goalscoring charts.
His 54th goal of the campaign secured a 2-1 win over Malaga, though the win proved futile as Barcelona romped to La Liga glory.
Ronaldo powers home a header against Northern Ireland in September 2013 / PETER MUHLY/Getty Images
Poor Northern Ireland.
The Portugal international’s first hat-trick for his country came at Windsor Park back in September 2013, as Michael O’Neill’s side suffered a 4-2 defeat in their World Cup qualifier.
Ronaldo’s hat-trick was secured with a superb free-kick 20 minutes from time.
Ronaldo secured his 400th career goal in January 2014 / Denis Doyle/Getty Images
The 400th goal of Ronaldo’s illustrious career came at the
Santiago Bernabeu as Madrid recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Celta Vigo.
The Real talisman showed brilliant movement to find himself a yard of space in the area before emphatically firing home Gareth Bale’s driven cross.
Only five full seasons in La Liga and he’d already notched 200 league goals. Pretty impressive we’re sure you’ll agree.
The lowest tally Ronaldo recorded in his nine seasons in the Spanish top flight was 25, and he would break the 40-goal mark on three occasions. His 200th La Liga strike came against Celta Vigo in December 2014, and by this point he well and truly had the Madrid goalscoring record in his sights.
Ronaldo notched five against Granada in April 2015 / Warren Little/Getty Images
In April 2015 Real Madrid handed out one of the biggest defeats you’re ever likely to see in top level football as they hammered Granada 9-1, and you can guess who was at the heart of it.
Ronaldo hit five against Granada, the first time he’d done so in his career (which is weirdly surprising given how prolific he is).
Bale celebrates with Ronaldo after he scores his 300th goal for Real Madrid / JAVIER SORIANO/Getty Images
Next up is his 300th for Madrid.
Just a week on from his five-goal haul in La Liga, Ronaldo notched his 300th for Los Blancos as they strolled to a comfortable 2-0 win over Rayo Vallecano.
However, once again it was to prove in vain as Barcelona pipped them to the La Liga crown by just two points.
Ronaldo celebrates his 500th career goal / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/Getty Images
Ronaldo is Mr Champions League, so it’s no surprise he notched his 500th career goal in the competition.
The goal machine racked up number 500 for his career against Malmo in 2015 as Real Madrid secured a comfortable 2-0 win.
The goal was everything we’d come to expect from the Portuguese forward, showing the composure which had brought him so much success before rifling the ball into the back of the net.
Ronaldo became Real’s all-time leading goalscorer in 2015 / Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Ronaldo surpassed Madrid legend Raul to become the club’s all-time leading goalscorer by netting his 324th goal against Leveante in October 2015.
He would net a total of 450 for the club in total before departing for Serie A with Juventus.
✅ 100 Champions League goals
✅ The perfect hat-trick
✅ A legend in any era
Cristiano Ronaldo. ? pic.twitter.com/0oGoT9x2gK
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 18, 2017
The first man ever in the Champions League to record 100 goals in the competition – some achievement when you consider the level of opponents.
His double against Bayern Munich handed Madrid a 2-1 lead against Die Roten in the first leg of their 2017 Champions League quarter-final tie.
Ronaldo recorded his 400th Madrid goal against Sevilla in May 2017 / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Having already smashed Real Madrid’s goalscoring record previously held by club legend Raul, Ronaldo spent the remainder of his time in the Spanish capital making the record possibly unbeatable.
The 400th of his 450 Madrid goals came against Sevilla in 2017 as Real went on to record a comfortable 4-1 victory.
Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 600 career goals
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) June 3, 2017
Asif scoring your 600th goal isn’t impressive enough, to do it on the grandest stage in European club football is just ridiculous.
The magical frontman made it 600 for his professional career against his future employers Juventus in 2017 as he scored twice in Real’s 4-1 Champions League final triumph over Juve.
Ronaldo became just the second player to reach the landmark of 300 goals in La Liga when he bagged Madrid’s second against Getafe in 2018.
Only Lionel Messi had achieved the feat before Ronaldo, however, the Portugal international reached the landmark faster than the Barcelona talisman.
Ronaldo walks off with the match ball against Girona in March 2018 / JAVIER SORIANO/Getty Images
Having only scored one hat-trick by the time he joined Real Madrid in 2009, Ronaldo secured an incredible 50th three-goal haul in Madrid’s emphatic 6-3 win over Girona in 2018.
150 goals coming via hat-tricks. Just let that sink in a little.
The Portugal international scored his 450th goal for Madrid in May 2018 / LLUIS GENE/Getty Images
Having endured so many intriguing battles in his nine years at Madrid, it’s perhaps apt that Ronaldo’s final goal for the club would come against the old rivals Barcelona.
The forward notched in Madrid’s 2-2 draw with Barça and would later that season go on to lift the Champions League trophy for a fifth time before leaving the club in the summer.
Juventus v US Sassuolo – Serie A / Claudio Villa./Getty Images
While some footballers will look to drop down the leagues as they enter their 30s, Ronaldo had no such plans.
At 33 he moved to Serie A champions Juventus, and having gone an incredible 320 minutes without a goal, he opened his goalscoring account in Italian football against Sassuolo.
Ronaldo bagged his 100th international goal against Sweden in September / David Lidstrom/Getty Images
Only one man in the history of international football had ever reached triple figures for his country, until Ronaldo came along.
Iran’s Ali Daei is the only international player with more goals (109), but having scored his 100th against Sweden earlier this year, Ronaldo is currently sat on 102 – and you wouldn’t bet against him surpassing Daei’s unbelievable record.
Ronaldo’s Champions League strike on Wednesday night was his 750th career goal / Chris Ricco/Getty Images
And last but not least.
At 35 years of age the hitman is still lethal in front of goal, with his strike against Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League taking his career tally up to 750.
Who knows how many more he’ll have scored by the time he comes to hang up his boots.