Opinion

We rank Ronaldo’s best goals of all time

Ross Jackson
We look at Ronaldo Nazario's best ever goals
We look at Ronaldo Nazario's best ever goals / Claudio Villa/Getty Images
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You'd be hard pushed to name many better strikers in the history of world football than Ronaldo - the original one, not the fake.

Even as a teenager the Brazilian frontman's rapid pace and lethal finishing was tearing apart some of the best defences in Europe, and were it not for a series of recurring injuries he'd probably be universally recognised as the greatest player ever.

As it is he'll have to settle for being known as one of the greatest strikers ever, and having a wonderful DAZN documentary titled 'Ronaldo: El Presidente' made about his life (not all bad, eh?).

To celebrate his career even more, we at 90min have decided to rank his greatest goals ever.


9. Brazil vs Denmark (1996)

Ronaldo Luiz Nazario
A young Ronaldo in a glorious Brazil kit / CHRIS BERNACCHI/Getty Images

One of Ronaldo's finest goals for Brazil.

The hitman scored 62 times for his country in 98 appearances, though his strike against Denmark back in 1996 could be the best of them all.

The youngster did well to retain possession in midfield before laying the ball off to teammate Ze Maria who (obviously) returned the favour to set Ronaldo away on the right-hand side.

Still with plenty of work to do, Ronaldo produced some ballerina-like move in the box to swivel away from one man before dropping his shoulder to create a yard of space for himself and smashing the ball into the top corner with his left foot.

The man was just a joke.


8. Real Madrid vs Athletic Club (2006)

Ronaldo scored his final Real goal in December 2006
Ronaldo scored his final Real goal in December 2006 / Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Ronaldo's final goal for Real Madrid before he moved to Milan in January 2007.

Fabio Capello's side trailed Athletic Club 1-0 with just 25 minutes remaining and the home fans were beginning to show their frustration.

First of all, Sergio Ramos produced a pinpoint ball over the top of the away side's backline to pick out Ronaldo, but from then onwards it was all about the brilliance of one man.

Ronaldo somehow managed to kill the ball with one touch before dinking it over the onrushing Inaki Lafuente and into the back of the net. You just can't defend against magic like that.


7. Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid (2003)

Local derbies can often be intense affairs with both sides taking a bit of time to feel their way into the game - not when Ronaldo was about they weren't.

Just 14 seconds into Real's derby with Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2003, the forward picked up the ball around 35 yards from goal - even from there you could hear the excitement of the crowd.

The forward nutmegged the emerging Atletico defender before bursting away from the opposition and producing a clinical dink over German Burgos to send the home crowd wild.

6. Barcelona vs Valencia (1996)

Ronaldo's season in Barcelona saw him produce some of the best football of his career, leaving Camp Nou following a contract dispute having scored 47 goals in 49 games.

Arguably one of his best performances for Bobby Robson's side came against Valencia as his hat-trick secured a 3-2 win.

All three goals were absolutely brilliant, but the first of them was the pick of the bunch as he put on the afterburners to leave four Valencia defenders in the dust before coolly slotting the ball under Andoni Zubizarreta.

5. Racing Santander vs Barcelona (1996)

Again back to his time in Barcelona, and this time Ronaldo's terrified opponents came in the form of Racing Santander.

The Brazilian hitman managed to lose the attention of the Racing backline before expertly bringing down the ball on his chest, though with his back to goal there looked like being nowhere for him to go.

And then came the moment of brilliance.

The youngster swivelled and dragged the ball away from the opposition in a single movement, completely outfoxing the Racing defence before rounding the goalkeeper and finishing from a tight angle.

A combination of ingenuity and impeccable technique.

4. Manchester United vs Real Madrid (2003)

By 2003 Ronaldo had earned a reputation for being overweight as much as he had for being a great goalscorer, but don't be fooled into thinking he wasn't still unbelievable.

When Real Madrid travelled to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the quarter-final of the Champions League, the Brazilian was given a standing ovation by sections of the home crowd as he left the field after his stunning hat-trick.

His third of the night saw him drive at the United backline before firing a lethal effort which flew past Fabien Barthez in a flash.

It was the sort of individual performance where there's no point getting annoyed at your team for letting happen, you've just got to admit you've witnessed greatness in action.

3. Spartak Moscow vs Inter (1998)

Being able to play like a genius on a cabbage patch has got to be the true litmus test of any great footballer.

In the 1998 UEFA Cup semi-final Inter travelled to Russia to face Spartak Moscow, and obviously Ronaldo stole the show.

His double assured Luigi Simoni's side would progress through to the final of the competition, with his first of the evening a particular highlight as he wriggled away from one challenge before playing a neat one-two with Ivan Zamorano, darting between two Spartak defenders and slotting home.

2. Inter vs Lazio (1998)

Producing the goods on the big occasions is arguably what sets world class players apart from very good players, and Ronaldo certainly knew how to deliver when his side needed him most.

Inter faced Lazio in the 1998 UEFA Cup final (it used to be a pretty big deal, honest) and Ronaldo produced a trademark finish to put the game beyond doubt with 20 minutes to play.

The Brazilian beat the offside trap before being afforded the freedom of the Lazio half with just Luca Marchegiani to beat.

It's almost as if he had too much time to think about what he was going to do next, but he showed the utmost composure to drop his shoulder - putting Marchegiani on his backside - before rounding the goalkeeper and tapping into an empty net.

1. Barcelona vs Compostela (1996)

19-year-old Ronaldo joined Barcelona in 1996 as the Spanish giants broke the world transfer record to secure the services of the player taking the footballing world by storm.

It didn't take him long to settle into life in Spain having notched five goals and two assists in his first six La Liga outings, though a trip to Compostela would provide possibly the highlight of his career.

The youngster picked up the ball in his own half, somehow managing to maintain his balance as the home side's midfield hacked away at his shins.

Not to be deterred, Ronaldo produced a sublime piece of skill to glide past two midfielders before advancing towards the Compostela box, slaloming between defenders and then smashing the ball home.

A moment of sheer brilliance.

Ronaldo is currently the focus of the brand new documentary series, ‘Ronaldo- El Presidente’. Having taken his talents from the pitch to the boardroom, the show follows his life as owner and president of Real Valladolid. You can watch the six-part series exclusively on DAZN now.


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