Cristiano Ronaldo's 3 favourite opponents in the UEFA Champions League
- We take a look at three of Ronaldo's favourite opponents in the Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most successful players in the history of the Champions League. The 35-year-old is the only player to win five titles in the Champions League era and is the competition's all-time leading scorer with 128 goals.
The Portuguese talisman's streak of scoring in 14 consecutive seasons in the European competition is only bettered by the duo of Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema who have done so in 15 successive seasons.
His hat-trick for Juventus against Atletico Madrid in the second leg of last season's Round of 16 fixture also made him the oldest player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League, as the Bianconeri successfully overturned a 0-2 first-leg deficit to reach the quarterfinals.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner narrowly failed to equal Messi's record as the only player to score against 34 different opponents in the competition when his goal-bound free-kick against Lokomotiv Moscow in a group-stage game this season was inadvertently prodded across the line by teammate Aaron Ramsey.
In this article, let us have a look at Ronaldo's three favourite opponents in the Champions League.
Also Read: Ronaldo's Champions League records
#3 Bayern Munich (9 goals in 8 games)
Ronaldo met Bayern Munich in the Champions League semifinals of the 2011-12 edition of the competition. The then-Real Madrid striker provided the assist as the Merengues scored an all-important away goal in a 1-2 first-leg defeat in Munich.
In the return leg, Ronaldo's brace looked set to fire Los Blancos to the Champions League final for the first time in a decade but the Bavarians scored to force the game into extra time. In the ensuing penalty shootout, the former Sporting Lisbon man missed from the spot as his side lost 3-4.
Ronaldo once again crossed swords with Bayern Munich in the 2013-14 semifinals and scored a brace against the hosts at the Allianz Arena. The forward's efforts contributed to Real's 4-0 win on the night and 5-0 on aggregate as the Spanish capital side moved to within one win of a much-coveted La Decima.
His next meeting with Bayern was even more productive as he scored both goals in Real's 2-1 away win in the first leg of the 2016-17 quarterfinals before a hat-trick in the return leg at home helped the club to a 4-2 extra-time win.
Although Ronaldo failed to improve on his rich return of 9 goals in 6 games when he met Bayern in the semifinals in 2017-18, Los Blancos still managed to win 4-3 on aggregate en route to becoming the first team in the Champions League era to win a three-peat.
#2 Ajax (9 goals in 7 games)
Ronaldo has scored in all but one of the seven games he has played against Ajax in the Champions League. The forward failed to score against the Eredivisie team in the first leg of their group-stage clash in the 2010-11 season as Real Madrid ran out 2-0 winners at home, but he did score a brace to help the club to a 4-0 win in Amsterdam. In his next acquaintance with Ajax, Ronaldo scored in Los Blancos' 3-0 home win in their 2011-12 group-stage clash in the competition.
Facing Ajax for the third consecutive season, the Portugal skipper scored his first Champions League hat-trick as Real won 4-1 in Amsterdam in a group-stage game in the 2012-13 campaign. He was also among the scorers in the Madrid giants' 4-1 home win in the same stage of the competition.
Ronaldo's next meeting with Ajax was with current club Juventus in the 2018-19 quarterfinals. Despite the 35-year-old scoring in both legs of the fixture, the Bianconeri fell to a 1-2 home defeat on the night and a 2-3 loss on aggregate to crash out of the competition.
#1 Juventus (10 goals in 7 games)
The fact that one of Ronaldo's favourite opponents in the Champions League is his present club Juventus is a tad ironic. The Portuguese ace has found the back of the net in each of the seven games he has played against the Bianconeri and, in the process, became the only player to score 10 goals against an opponent in the competition.
In his first meeting with the Italian giants, Ronaldo scored both goals in Real Madrid's 2-1 home win in a group-stage fixture in the 2013-14 season before finding the net in his team's 2-2 draw away from home.
The former Manchester United man met Juventus for the second time in the 2014-15 semifinals where he scored a priceless away goal in a 1-2 first-leg defeat for holders Real Madrid. The forward then scored early in the second leg to put his side ahead for the first time in the fixture, only for Alvaro Morata's equaliser to end the Merengues' title defence.
The Portugal captain's brace in the 2016-17 final made him the first player to score in three Champions League finals as Los Blancos became the first team in the Champions League era to successfully defend their title.
Facing Juventus for the fourth time in five seasons, Ronaldo drew a rare standing ovation from the Bianconeri faithful after scoring a stunning overhead kick past Gianluigi Buffon as Real won the 2017-18 quarterfinal first-leg clash 3-0. With the Italian giants moments away from forcing extra time in the return leg after hauling back a three-goal deficit in the second leg, Ronaldo's penalty deep into injury time sealed a hard-fought 4-3 aggregate win for Los Blancos.