Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Manchester United against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, adding to his growing list of achievements.
According to some, Ronaldo’s hat-trick helped Manchester United to a 3-2 victory and increased his goal total to 807, becoming him the most prolific goal scorer in professional football. “The title of all-time best goalscorer in football is hotly contested, and FIFA does not have an official record, but the international governing organisation estimates that Austro-Czech Josef Bican scored 805 goals over a career that spanned 1931 to 1955.” According to statistics compiled by the Czech football association, Bican scored 821 goals. Bican, according to some figures, only scored 759 goals throughout his career.
Roy Keane described his treble as “genius” after United’s 3-2 win at Old Trafford on Saturday evening. The win could be a major boost for a United team that still has a long way to go to make the top four.
Arsenal, who are two points behind United and with four games in hand, remain the favourites for that spot, but Ronaldo’s performance against Spurs showed the Red Devils can still force their way into those positions by the conclusion of the season.
“Scoring goals is the hardest part of the game,” Keane stated after the final whistle. To score so many goals at the top level – international goals, huge games in the Champions League – it was unquestionably Spurs today. I don’t know what else to say. This guy’s genius.”
In the 12th minute, his spectacular 25-yard strike put United ahead, but Harry Kane equalised with a penalty awarded for Alex Telles’ handball in the 35th minute.
Three minutes later, Ronaldo restored United’s advantage from a cross by Jadon Sancho, but Harry Maguire’s 72nd-minute own goal threatened to spoil his evening.
However, in the 81st minute, Ronaldo headed home from Telles’ corner to capture his 807th career goal, surpassing Josef Bican as the top-scoring men’s player in history, according to FIFA statistics.
Ronaldo’s heroics drew a standing ovation from Brady and propelled United to fourth place, with Tottenham in eighth place, five points behind.
With no Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay, or Luke Shaw available at Old Trafford, Ronaldo’s big day was required.
Spurs had chances, as seen by their xG of 1.43 compared to Manchester United’s of.93, but they were unable to capitalise. Things seemed promising early on, but constant breakdowns by Son Heung-Min and Sergio Reguilon in the last third would prove costly. Even Harry Kane wasn’t at his best in the final third, completing only 58.3% of his passes as Raphel Varane effectively marked him out.
Regardless, Ronaldo’s three-goal performance brought his career total to 807 goals and 59 hat tricks.
“He has never been a problem,” teammate Paul Pogba said of Ronaldo’s big day. It can’t be a problem because you have the finest striker in history on your squad. He demonstrated why he is Cristiano Ronaldo today. His and the entire team’s performance was outstanding.” During his career, the 37-year-old Portuguese native has won seven league titles and holds the record for most goals scored in Champions League competition (140).
He signed with Manchester United when he was 18 years old, winning three Premier League titles in a row and the famous Ballon d’Or in 2007, before going on to other teams.