Football: Ronaldo answers Messi with 100th league goal
BARCELONA: Three days after Lionel Messi became Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer, Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo hit back with a record of his own by becoming the fastest player to reach 100 goals in the Spanish league. Ronaldo surpassed former record-holder and Madrid great Ferenc Puskas on Saturday when he struck a brace in the Spanish leader’s 5-1 thrashing of Real Sociedad at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. After uncharacteristically missing a clear chance with a header on the edge of the six-yard box, Ronaldo raced behind Sociedad’s defense to latch onto Kaka’s pass and fire it home for his 100th goal in the 32nd minute.
Ronaldo then tapped home a cross from striker Gonzalo Higuain in the 56th to take his tally to 101 in 92 league matches. Puskas, who played for Madrid in the 1960s, needed 105 games to score 100 goals. The 27-year-old Ronaldo is primed to have his best season ever for Madrid with 45 goals in all competitions so far. But Ronaldo’s excellent campaign has been recently overshadowed by Messi, who besides breaking Cesar Rodriguez’s 57-year-old club record for Barcelona’s all-time scorer has also set a Champions League record by netting five times in one game this month.
The two aces have each scored 35 goals in league play so far this season. The last nine rounds of La Liga should feature an enthralling duel between Ronaldo and Messi as they try to break the Portugal forward’s league record of 40 goals he set last season. After a €94-million ($125-million) move from Manchester United to Madrid in the summer of 2009, Ronaldo scored 26 league goals in his first season. Madrid’s first win in three games kept it six points clear of defending champion Barcelona at the top of the standings. ap