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Why is Cristiano Ronaldo called 'Mr Champions League'? Man Utd & Real Madrid legend's nickname explained

13:55 GMT 08/12/2021
Cristiano Ronaldo Champions League trophy
GOAL takes a look at the origin of the Manchester United legend's nickname and his record in the competition

Cristiano Ronaldo has picked up a few nicknames during his career in football.

There's the iconic 'CR7', of course, which has become his brand and is adorned on all of his products. His most ardent fans might use 'GOAT' to describe their favourite star, while critical football fans sometimes lob the pejorative 'Penaldo'. Then, if you are close enough, he might even permit you to call him 'Cris'.

Another nickname that is more commonly used by football commentators is 'Mr Champions League'. GOAL takes a look at where it came from.

Why is Cristiano Ronaldo called 'Mr Champions League'?

Ronaldo is known by some as 'Mr Champions League' because of his unparalleled success in the competition at both a club and individual level.

He has won five Champions League trophies, lifting his first with Manchester United in 2007-08 before going on to collect four more during his career-defining time at Real Madrid.

As well as helping the teams he has played for to win the competition on five occasions, Ronaldo has broken record after record in the Champions League.

For example, he is, by some distance, the all-time top goalscorer in the tournament's illustrious history, ahead of Lionel Messi, and has also made the most appearances, surpassing former Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas in 2021.

The 17 goals Ronaldo scored in the 2013-14 edition of the competition is the record tally for Champions League goals scored in a single season and, in the modern era, he is the only player to score in three different Champions League finals (2008, 2014, 2017) - though it should be noted that Alfred Di Stefano scored in five European Cup finals prior to the 1992 format change.

Before he left Old Trafford for Real Madrid, the Portugal icon declared that winning the Champions League was "the high point" in his career and, as the aforementioned list of records attests, he has certainly thrived in the tournament ever since.

Indeed, the relish with which Ronaldo approaches games in the Champions League was perfectly encapsulated in 2017 as cameras showed him singing along with the tournament's anthem prior to one of Real Madrid's games.

A word must be reserved on this topic for Clarence Seedorf, who was dubbed 'Mr Champions League' long before Ronaldo's love affair with the competition became a thing. Seedorf earned the nickname due to the fact that he won the Champions League with three different teams - Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan.

Others, too, have been dubbed 'Mr Champions League', with Barcelona's official website bestowing the title on Lionel Messi, but few can complain about Ronaldo's association with it.

What is Cristiano Ronaldo's record in the Champions League?

Ronaldo has competed in six Champions League finals, winning five and losing once.

His first Champions League triumph came in 2007-08 with Manchester United as the Red Devils overcame Chelsea in Moscow, but he lost in the following season's final as Barcelona emerged victorious in Rome.

Ronaldo had to wait until 2013-14 when he was playing for Real Madrid to get his hands on the trophy for the second time, with three further titles added to the cabinet in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

He has made over 180 appearances in the Champions League, with 140 goals and counting.

Below is a list of the Champions League records held by Cristiano Ronaldo:

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