Sunday, May 26, 2013
Ronaldo ends Messi's scoring monopoly
Cristiano Ronaldo has finished as the UEFA Champions League's top scorer for a second time, ending Lionel Messi's unprecedented four-year reign.
The Real Madrid CF forward registered 12 goals to take the prize he previously collected with eight strikes in 2007/08, when his efforts helped Manchester United FC lift the trophy for a third time. Since then, Messi has monopolised the award, as leading marksman in 2008/09 (nine goals), 2009/10 (eight), 2010/11 (12) and 2011/12 (14).
This term, however, the FC Barcelona talisman – whose side, like Ronaldo's, bowed out in the semi-finals – notched eight goals. That was enough only for a share of third place with Burak Yılmaz of Galatasaray AŞ and FC Bayern München's Thomas Müller. The trio were two goals behind Robert Lewandowski, thanks largely to the Borussia Dortmund attacker's four-goal haul in the semi-final first leg against Madrid.
Five players finished with five goals, including two – Chelsea FC's Oscar and Alan of SC Braga – whose clubs did not survive the group stage. A further ten players managed four goals apiece, including Bayern's Arjen Robben, the man whose effort proved decisive in the Wembley final.
Aside from Lewandowski's four-timer against Madrid – which made him the ninth player to hit four in a game in the UEFA Champions League era, and the first in a European Cup semi-final – there were six hat-tricks in this season's competition. They all arrived in the group stage: Ronaldo for Madrid at Ajax; Luiz Adriano in FC Shakhtar Donetsk's win at FC Nordsjælland; Claudio Pizarro as Bayern beat LOSC Lille; Roberto Soldado in Valencia CF's home victory over FC BATE Borisov; Burak as Galatasaray won at CFR 1907 Cluj; and SC Braga's Rui Pedro, also at CFR.
2012/13 UEFA Champions League top scorers
12 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF)
10 Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund)
8 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Burak Yılmaz (Galatasaray AŞ), Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München)
5 Oscar (Chelsea FC), Jonas (Valencia CF), Alan (SC Braga), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid CF), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint-Germain FC)
4 Arjen Robben (FC Bayern München), Claudio Pizarro (FC Bayern München), Kostas Mitroglou (Olympiacos FC), Fabio Quagliarella (Juventus), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal FC), Willian (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (FC Schalke 04), Eliseu (Málaga CF), Roberto Soldado (Valencia CF), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)