5 Years of Cristiano Ronaldo: Top 5 Moments at Real Madrid

Liam NewmanContributor IJuly 2, 2014

5 Years of Cristiano Ronaldo: Top 5 Moments at Real Madrid

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    Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

    This week marked the fifth anniversary of Cristiano Ronaldo's earth-shattering £80 million transfer from Manchester United to make him the most expensive player in the world at the time.

    Ronaldo arrived at the Bernabeu as one of the game's greatest players but has since gone on to elevate his game to almost unfathomable levels, smashing a horde of individual records in the process.

    As per Real Madrid's official website, the winger has registered an unprecedented record of 253 goals in 246 matches for the club and has, alongside Barcelona's Lionel Messi, confirmed his place as one of the best two players of his generation.

    Here we look back and celebrate some of his greatest moments in a Blancos shirt.

    Agree with our selections? Post your favourite Cristiano moments below.

5. Hat-Trick vs. Atletico Madrid in 2012

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    When Ronaldo arrived at the Bernabeu in the summer of 2009, Barcelona were dominating Spain and Europe.

    Under Pep Guardiola, the Catalan giants had just claimed an unprecedented treble consisting of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League crowns. This was the golden generation in Barca history, and Real Madrid needed to fire a huge warning shot to their fiercest rivals.

    Ronaldo was joined by Kaka, as per BBC Sport, as the marquee signings of that transfer window, but it took some time for the Blancos to reassert themselves as Spain's best team.

    As Ronaldo elevated his game, so did the club, and by 2012, they were in the hunt for a first league crown in four seasons.

    One of the most crucial games in that campaign came in April's clash against Madrid rivals Atletico. At such a critical stage of the season, Real simply had to win. A hero was needed. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

    The No. 7 was almost unplayable throughout, bagging a hat-trick for himself as well as an assist as Real thumped their local rivals 4-1. Not a bad way to reiterate your title credentials.

4) FIFA Ballon D'Or Award

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    Michael Probst/Associated Press

    Football may be a team game and silverware has always been Ronaldo's chief goal, but make no mistake: The Portugal star also craves personal glory.

    He strives to be the world's very best player and the Ballon d'Or award of 2013 cemented his place atop of the pile.

    Yet again Ronaldo scored at a rate of more than once a game in 2013, hitting 69 goals in just 59 appearances for club and country, according to Sky Sports.

    In addition to his amazing achievements at the Bernabeu, the Portuguese idol single-handedly dragged his country to the FIFA World Cup by netting four goals against Sweden in a play-off, including a memorable hat-trick in the all-important second leg.

    This was the second time that Ronaldo had been named World Player of the Year, bringing an end to Messi's four-year stranglehold on the honour. A wonderful night for a truly remarkable talent.

3) Copa Del Rey Winner vs. Barcelona in 2011

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    One criticism often pointed in Ronaldo's direction during his early Blancos career was that he sometimes failed to perform on the big stage; he certainly silenced his critics in the Copa del Rey final of 2011.

    After 90 minutes, a fierce contest had ended in a rare Clasico stalemate. With Real Madrid seeking their first major honour in three seasons, now was the time for a hero to emerge. Only one man was ever going to steal the headlines.

    With just a minute remaining in the first period of extra-time, Ronaldo rose highest to nod a superb Angel di Maria cross beyond Jose Pinto and hand the Blancos their first trophy of the Cristiano era.

    The Bernabeu giants would use that victory as a springboard for future success.

     

2) La Liga Goals 150 & 151 vs. Getafe

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    It's not only the volume of goals that make Ronaldo stand out as superhuman, it's the speed with which he has done it.

    According to MessivRonaldo.net, the Real Madrid star was the fastest man to reach the 50-goal milestone at the Bernabeu. He subsequently went on to break the records for the 100, 150, 200 and 250 milestones, too.

    Perhaps even more pleasing to the Real Madrid icon, though, is that he is the fastest man in La Liga history to reach the 150-goal milestone. Ronaldo surpassed the mark in September 2013 with a penalty against Getafe.

    Later in the same game, he hit goal No. 151 with a sensational back-heel effort. 

1) La Decima & Smashing Champions League Record

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    Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    During his five years as a Madridista, Cristiano Ronaldo has dazzled fans with his incredible skills and rampant scoring, winning millions of hearts in the process.

    However, for all his achievements at the Bernabeu, Florentino Perez brought him to the Spanish capital to do one thing: Fire the Blancos to a 10th European title.

    Since winning their ninth European crown in 2002, the Spanish giants have been obsessed with completing la Decima, and the acquisition of Ronaldo was primarily made to ensure it happened.

    After all, the Portugal star had been hugely influential in Manchester United's Champions League triumph of 2008, as well as their run to the final just 12 months later.

    It may have taken the best part of five years, but Ronaldo duly delivered in 2014 to cap another sensational year for the Real Madrid superstar. 

    Ronaldo was in inspired form throughout Real's heroic Champions League campaign and had, as per UEFA.com, equalled Messi's record of 14 strikes in a single campaign before the semi-finals.

    Two fantastic goals against Bayern, as Real demolished the Germans in Munich, saw the Blancos man edge ahead of the Barcelona man.

    Injury problems took their toll on Ronaldo in the first-ever one-city final and his performance against Atletico was rather subdued.

    This paved the way for Gareth Bale, the man who inherited the tag of world's most expensive player, to nod the winner in extra-time.

    Nevertheless, it was the No. 7 who had the final say by calmly sticking away a last-gasp penalty to complete a historic 4-1 victory for the Bernabeu giants.

    Real Madrid's 12-year wait for a 10th European crown was over. and Ronaldo, with 17 goals in just 11 appearances, had been the catalyst throughout.

    It was the career-defining chapter in one of the greatest football stories ever told.