Cristiano Ronaldo will match Iker Casillas’ Champions League appearance when he takes to the field against Young Boys.
The 36-year-old has been named in United’s starting lineup by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which will be his 177th appearance in the competition.
Ronaldo first appeared way back in 2003, playing in United’s 2-1 defeat to VfB Stuttgart, and he remarkably didn’t score his first Champions League goal until his 30th outing – a brace in the 7-1 win over AS Roma in the quarter-finals.
But after bagging those two goals, Ronaldo hasn’t stopped finding the net – scoring an incredible 135 goals to date, if you include the qualifying goal he bagged against Debrecen in 2005.
Ronaldo is already the top scorer in the competition’s history – winning the competition’s golden boot on no less than seven occasions – and now matches Casillas’ record for appearances.
The legendary goalkeeper was a staple of the competition for 20 years, bursting onto the scene with Real Madrid in 1999 – whom he enjoyed great success with – before winding down his career in Portugal with Porto.
Casillas won the Champions League on three occasions, whereas Ronaldo has tasted success in the competition five times. He first lifted the trophy in 2008 as part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s triumphant Manchester United side, before going on to dominate the competition with Real Madrid during the mid-2010s.
Ronaldo wasn’t able to mirror that success at Juventus, though he did score 14 Champions League goals in 21 appearances for I Bianconeri.
Now, after a whirlwind return to Manchester, Ronaldo is hoping to win the competition once more, having stated after the 4-1 win over Newcastle in the Premier League – a game where he scored twice on his second debut – that he sees huge potential in the current squad of United players.
“As I told you before, we have huge potential,” Ronaldo told Manchester United’s club channel. “We have fantastic players, a good coach, a good team. We need to build up the mentality to win the Premier League and even the Champions League.
“So I am here to help the team. I think we have the 11 that are playing and those on the bench that can help as well. We have a good team, as I told you, and the spirit is there.”
More to follow…