Charting Cristiano Ronaldo's 2012-13 Champions League Campaign with Real Madrid

Will Tidey@willtideySenior Manager, GlobalApril 11, 2013

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - APRIL 09:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg match between Galatasaray and Real Madrid at Turk Telekom Arena on April 9, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo has been the outstanding player of the 2012-13 Champions League. He's scored 11 goals in 10 games for Real Madrid and propelled Jose Mourinho's team all the way to the semifinals.

Ronaldo's 49 attempts on target (via UEFA) is almost twice the number of the next best—a certain Lionel Messi, who has mustered 27. He also leads the field on attempts off target.

Ronaldo is one of only two players in the last four who has played all 900 minutes for their side so far (the other is Borussia Dortmund's Marcel Schmelzer). He has covered 101,426 meters in this year's tournament, which has him 10th in the distance travelled category.

Here's the complete story of Ronaldo's superb European campaign so far.

It all began for Real Madrid at home to Premier League champions Manchester City. With five minutes to play at the Bernabeu, City were 2-1 up and on course for a notable victory.

Ronaldo's night had been one of frustration at the hands of City goalkeeper Joe Hart, but there was still time for him to exert a defining influence.

Ronaldo would not be denied. With 90 minutes on the clock, he squeezed a shot home to break City hearts after Benzema's 87th-minute leveller.

Next up was a trip to face Dutch champions Ajax. Ronaldo started brightly and saw a handful of efforts come close before putting Madrid ahead from close range just before halftime.

What happened next would see him leave the field clutching the match ball. Ronaldo's hat-trick against Ajax, complete with a delightful chipped finish, earned Madrid an emphatic 4-1 victory and put them in a strong early position in the group of death.

Watch Ronaldo's virtuoso display in full right here.

Madrid were brought back down to earth with defeat at Borussia Dortmund in their third group match, with goals from Robert Lewandowski and Schmelzer either side of Ronaldo's effort.

The return match, two weeks later at the Bernabeu, saw Madrid fight back to draw 2-2 with the German side. Ronaldo had a low-key evening by his standards.

Despite two successive disappointments, Madrid still had their Champions League destiny in their own hands. They went to face Manchester City and sealed a spot in the last 16 with a 1-1 draw. Ronaldo failed to score for the second Champions League game in a row. 

He would not fail again on the road to the last four.

Ajax came to Madrid to complete the group stage and were comfortably swatted aside. Ronaldo opened the scoring with a side-footed finish to complete a swift Madrid counterattack.

Madrid finished Group D with 11 points, qualifying for the last 16 in second place behind Dortmund. Their reward was a romantic meeting with Manchester United—a tie that would be billed as Ronaldo's reunion with the club where he made his name.

The first leg saw Manchester United go ahead through a Danny Welbeck header at the Bernabeu on 20 minutes. The script called for a Ronaldo riposte, and he duly delivered one with a towering header soon after to equalise.

That's how things stayed, and the two teams went to Old Trafford with everything to play for.

For the first hour of the second leg United were in control. An own goal from Sergio Ramos had Sir Alex Ferguson's men on course for the quarterfinals, and Madrid were struggling to make an impact in the attacking third.

Everything changed when Nani was controversially sent off. Mourinho introduced Luka Modric, and the midfielder quickly levelled with a fine shot. It was left to Ronaldo to decide the contest, darting in at the far post to send United out and keep Madrid's Champions League dream alive.

There would be no wild celebration. Ronaldo had been moved by the greeting he was given by United fans, and his respect for them called for humility.

Madrid were drawn to face Galatasaray in the last eight.

The Turkish side had scraped through the group stage and battled past Schalke in the last 16. On paper the tie looked straightforward, but Galatasaray had been boosted by the January arrivals of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder and would set out to stifle Madrid.

The first leg effectively ended the tie as a contest. Madrid were dominant and put Gala away 3-0, sparked by a fine opening goal early on from Ronaldo.

They were made to work in Turkey, but Ronaldo's early goal made a comeback the stuff of fantasy. Galatasaray responded with three of their own, but Ronaldo collected Champions League goal number 11 at the death to finish the tie 5-3 on aggregate.

Who Madrid and Ronaldo come up against next will be determined by Friday's semifinal draw.


    Besiktas Manager Attacked at Istanbul Derby

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Besiktas Manager Attacked at Istanbul Derby

    Gianni Verschueren
    via Bleacher Report

    Simeone: No Excuses for Sociedad Defeat

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Simeone: No Excuses for Sociedad Defeat

    Emerson Impressive on First Prem Start

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Emerson Impressive on First Prem Start

    Evening Standard
    via Evening Standard

    Report: Juve Preparing Raise for Allegri

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Report: Juve Preparing Raise for Allegri | Tutte le news sul calcio in tempo reale
    via | Tutte le news sul calcio in tempo reale