You know the drill. Cristiano Ronaldo scores, Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates, Real Madrid win.
This has been the routine throughout much of the past eight years since the Portuguese superstar joined from Manchester United. It has led the club to two Champions Leagues, one La Liga title, and two Spanish Cups, among other trophies.
It has also led to the development of the football brand/behemoth that is ‘CR7’.
Within what is a team game, individualism is frowned upon. But Ronaldo has thrived on his self-centred pursuit of greatness and his team have benefitted from it too.
This week, he won his fifth Ballon d'Or, drawing level with Barcelona great Lionel Messi. It has been a big year for the Portuguese who, in May, struck twice against Sevilla to reach 400 goals in the elegant all-white of Real Madrid. And here, Football Whispers assesses the best of the lot.
VS. ATLETICO MADRID (2014)
Okay, so it isn’t the most eye-catching, nor the most significant. But this simple penalty in the 2014 Champions League final to give Real Madrid a 4-1 lead over Atletico typified Ronaldo in many ways.
He found the net to rub salt in a city rivals’ wounds, on the biggest possible stage, before ripping off his shirt for the cameras.
VS. RAYO VALLECANO (2012)
As back-heeled goals go, this isn’t Ronaldo’s best. Yet, in its audacity and complete lack of subtlety, it’s still brilliant in a simplistic sort of way.
With his back to the Rayo goal following a Real Madrid corner kick, he forcefully back-heels the ball between defenders and into the net without even looking.
VS. LEVANTE (2012)
There isn’t much poor Levante could do about this one. Ronaldo has never feared shooting from range and here he showed why.
Cutting in from the left with no team-mates ahead of him and two markers surrounding him, he unleashed an unstoppable right-footed drive beyond a despairing goalkeeper.
VS. OSASUNA (2012)
Having received a cross-field pass and with runners moving beyond him, here Ronaldo found himself in possession in the formative stages of an attack.
But, with his potent combination of moxie and power, he controls, takes a couple of touches, and lashes the ball home from about 30 yards out.
VS. ESPANYOL (2016)
A younger Ronaldo may have been able to out-sprint the Espanyol defensive line in this particular instance, but here he is forced to take another route.
Caught up by a defender, he turns inside, completes a step-over, and fires ruthlessly into the net from just outside the penalty area with his weaker left foot.
VS. ATLETICO MADRID (2012)
While Ronaldo loves a free kick, his set piece efforts can – as countless innocent walls and fans will no doubt testify to – sometimes lack for accuracy what they have in sheer power.
But here, against Atletico, he managed to re-produce his own special, which was originally debuted in Manchester United colours against Portsmouth.
VS. BARCELONA (2012)
After three consecutive second-place finishes in La Liga, Real Madrid entered the 2011/12 season desperate to overthrow Barcelona.
They were helped in achieving this by a goal on the counter-attack from Ronaldo in the 73rd minute of this match, which sealed a pivotal 2-1 win at the Camp Nou.
VS. VALENCIA (2014)
In contrast to the goal against Rayo, this back-heel is the sumptuous product of technique and ingenuity.
Against Valencia Ronaldo managed to angle his body awkwardly in order to flick the ball into the net with startling brilliance.
VS. ALMERIA (2010)
Unsurprisingly considering it came in his debut campaign at Real Madrid, this goal evidenced the physical robustness, explosive acceleration and quick footwork of Ronaldo on the cusp of his prime.
From a near-standing start, he takes on and beats three Almeria defenders before driving home beyond the opposition goalkeeper with aplomb.
VS. BARCELONA (2011)
Some have argued that Ronaldo doesn’t always turn up for the big games, but he certainly did for this one. And, while most of his best strikes are with his feet, his aerial dominance cannot be overlooked.
Here he leapt to nod home a stylish headed extra-time winner in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona.