Cristiano Ronaldo is now 35 but showing no real signs of slowing down, and much of that longevity is down to his smart evolution & adaptation throughout the years.
Ronaldo's goal-scoring stats exploded after a then-world record move to Real Madrid where he became the leading goalscorer in the club's history and spearheaded them to four Champions League titles. That took his personal tally to five, after 2008 glory with Manchester United. No player has won more European Cup winner's medals than him.
Looking back on his career stats, it's difficult not to be in awe of what the Portugal legend has achieved and just how exponentially he has improved.
🇵🇹 Ronaldo at Sporting Lisbon
- 🏟 30 appearances
- ⚽️ 5 goals
- 🎯 1 assist
🔴 Ronaldo at Man United
- 🏟 292 appearances
- ⚽️ 118 goals
- 🎯 69 assists
At United, Ronaldo was deployed primarily as a left-winger, cutting in on his favoured right foot to cause damage from that flank. As he grew in physical and reputational stature, Ronaldo earned more licence to play with creative freedom and roam wherever he could do as much damage as possible and fashion chances for teammates. A tally of 69 assists during his time at Old Trafford backs this up.
The great man's goal-scoring antics would truly flourish in the next chapter of his career after a move from Manchester to Madrid.
⚪️ Ronaldo at Real Madrid
- 🏟 438 appearances
- ⚽️ 450 goals
- 🎯 118 assists
Ronaldo became a verified goal-machine in the Spanish capital. He became the driving force behind their domination of the Champions League between 2014 and 2018 when the Spanish giants became European champions four times in five seasons. Ronaldo scooped four Ballon d'Or titles while with Real Madrid, in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
He was most often deployed on the left-hand side of the attack in a 4-3-3, with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema completing the trio. In that system, Ronaldo had plenty of freedom to wander off his flank to sniff out opportunities in the centre, because he knew that the hardworking Benzema would run the left channels when Ronaldo had vacated them. This was a formation built around Ronaldo's skills and built to maximize his goal output. Needless to say, the exercise was a success.
⚫️ Ronaldo at Juventus
Incredibly, Ronaldo has reinvented himself yet again at an elite European club. His latter days at Real Madrid saw him given full licence to roam without defensive responsibilities, and that is now even more exaggerated in Turin under Maurizio Sarri at Juventus.
The manager and player have had their differences, but Ronaldo is invariably selected upfront as one of two strikers in a 4-1-2-1-2. Again, this formation is built with Ronaldo in mind with a midfield diamond creating ample chances, especially via Paulo Dybala, for him to convert.
- 🏟 70 appearances
- ⚽️ 50 goals
- 🎯 13 assists
With Juventus, CR7 is a central striker with almost no defensive responsibilities and he has the luxury of a strike-partner to run the channels for him and provide chances. His tally of 50 goals & 13 assists in 73 appearances across all competitions is an elite level of output for any player, never mind one who is 35.
50 - Cristiano Ronaldo has been directly involved in 50 goals (40 goals, 10 assists) in his 50 Serie A appearances with Juventus. Birthday. pic.twitter.com/Uiidj1yaeN— OptaJoao (@OptaJoao) February 5, 2020
It's been quite a journey for the Portuguese superstar. He started out as a slightly built winger known for his dazzling stepovers but frustrating lack of end-product. He developed into a world-class wide attacker with an incredible leap and formidable heading ability and has settled into a central striking role where he continues to churn our ridiculous numbers at the highest level, as well as the occasional jaw-dropping matchwinning moment.
CR7 really is one of the most complete attacking players the game has ever seen.