By DAN KARELL
With one swing of the leg, Cristiano Ronaldo wrote his name in UEFA and Real Madrid lore.
Ronaldo’s goal three minutes after the halftime break against FC Copenhagen was his ninth of the UEFA Champions League group stage, a new record, as well as the 800th Real Madrid goal in the European Cup/Champions League competition. The Portuguese international passed Filippo Inzaghi, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Hernan Crespo, who all have scored eight goals in the group stage.
It was very easy for the 28-year-old, who drifted in towards the back post and quickly side-footed in his goal off a pass from Pepe in the box. Real Madrid won the match, 2-0, to clinch Group B.
Though he could have had a second on the night when he missed a penalty kick in the 89th minute, Ronaldo’s goal takes his season total to 26 in all competitions for Los Blancos. Add in goals he’s scored for Portugal since August and that number swells to 35 goals total.
Here are some more stories to start your Wednesday:
VELA OPENS DOOR FOR EL TRI RETURN
One of the major story lines during Mexico’s qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup has been the lack of inclusion in the squad of Carlos Vela, one of the best Mexicans playing abroad at the moment.
Vela hasn’t represented El Tri since 2011, when Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre took charge, rejecting every call-up as El Tri struggled to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil. However, the 24-year-old Real Sociedad forward has admitted that if current El Tri head coach Miguel Herrera comes and speaks with Vela, he could be open to returning to the Mexico squad.
“If he comes and talks to me I’ll think (about re-joining El Tri),” Vela told Fox Sports, via Univision. “If given the opportunity and the chance, we would talk and we would see what is best for the team and for all.”
Even if he doesn’t re-join El Tri, Vela has backed his compatriots who will face Brazil, Cameroon, and Croatia in Group A of the World Cup next summer.
“Any team that goes to the World Cup is strong and even more with the hosts, but Mexico has always proven to be a tough opponent and they can be in the next round,” Vela said.
MESSI’S RECOVERY CONTINUES ON TRACK
Barcelona received some positive news ahead of their Champions League match against Celtic today when they learned that Lionel Messi’s injured hamstring is 100 percent healed, according to a report in Spanish publication Marca.
Currently continuing his recovery in his native Argentina, the report states that Messi has progressed enough to the point where he can now practice and take shots with his dynamic left leg without feeling any pain. Barcelona fitness coach Elvio Paolorosso is expected to arrive in Buenos Aires, where Messi is rehabbing, on Wednesday to monitor the Argentine forward’s recovery.
Barcelona still expect Messi to be back in the squad in January.
Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has signed a contract extension through 2018. (REPORT)
Club America President Ricardo Pelaez confirms that former Club Tijuana head coach Antonio Mohamed will take over as head coach when Miguel Herrera moves full time to the Mexico National Team. (REPORT)
Former Mexico Olympic and short-lived National Team head coach Luis Fernando Tena has been appointed head coach of Liga MX club Cruz Azul. (REPORT)
AC Milan have confirmed the signing of Japanese international Keisuke Honda on a free transfer from CSKA Moscow. (REPORT)
Newcastle United have asked newspapers to pay for the access they can receive to players during the week. (REPORT)
Chilean club O’Higgins won their first league title on Tuesday after a 58-year wait from their fans. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Impressed with Ronaldo’s goal-scoring form this season? Think he can continue at this pace? Think there’s any chance that Vela could return to El Tri?
Share your thoughts below.