I'm a 19-year-old football fan who loves sharing obscure and interesting facts about the Beautiful Game.
1. Manuel Neuer
This 2014 World Cup-winning goalkeeper (who stands two inches taller than Ronaldo) has been on the receiving end of his shots and has failed to stop him. In 2014, when Germany won the FIFA World Cup, he was called the best player and was nominated for the prestigious Ballon d'Or for his amazing saves. His national team manager Joachim Low also said that he could even play like a field player behind the defense.
Ronaldo first scored against Neuer in the 2012 UCL quarter-final in a penalty, making him jump the opposite side. In the same match, he scored once more; he was assisted by Ozil just 8 minutes after the previous goal, but Real Madrid lost the match in the penalty shootouts. He got a chance to get his revenge two years later in the semifinals when Real was already leading with two early goals from Ramos. CR scored one goal, assisted by Bale, and another astounding free kick from 22 yards away.
Real went on the win the Champions League that year. Their last meeting was in the 2017 quarterfinals, in which Ronaldo scored twice in both halves. In the first one, he scored a header on Carvajal's cross and nutmegged Neuer from Asensio's cross in his second. In the second leg, he scored the 104th-minute controversial goal passed by Marcelo and another passed by Ramos just in five minutes.
2. Gianluigi Buffon
Buffon is considered around the world as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and he is surely Italy's best goalkeeper. This 40-year-old man doesn't reflect his age when he is on the field. He has the 2006 World Cup to his name, in which he made his favorite save against Zidane. He is respected for his gestures in difficult situations and against better opponents. Not only has he aged like fine wine, but he also had his own brand of red wine. He is also the first Series A goalkeeper to save a penalty awarded by a video assistant referee.
Ronaldo first scored against him in the 2009 Peace Cup semi-final in a penalty in the 42nd minute. In 2013, Juventus and Real Madrid shared the same Champions League group in which Ronaldo scored one at Turin. In the home fixture, he scored a fantastic goal by running past Gigi's range. This made the goal angle smaller for him as he tapped his right foot to curl the ball past the bar and into the goal.
Their next meeting was at the 2017 Champions League final, where he scored twice by making his trademark sudden sprint to reach the ball through the defense and push the ball into the goal. These goals secured Real's 12th UCL win.
They last met in the 2018 quarterfinals when Ronaldo scored Isco's pass with a touch from his right leg into the far corner. His second goal in this fixture was his most illustrious bicycle kick where he stunned everyone, including the conceding goalkeeper, the Juventus fans and even his own manager, Zinedine Zidane. Ronaldo's difficult attempt to score against Buffon proves that it is not an easy thing to score past the Italian number 1.
3. David De Gea
The Manchester United goalkeeper is currently considered the world's best goalkeeper. His efforts have been clinical for the Red Devils under the management of ex-manager Jose Mourinho and his defensive tactics. The Spanish goalkeeper was on Real Madrid's radar but they could not make that dream come true. He has improved a great deal since his signing in 2011 by Sir Alex Ferguson, the then manager. He leveled a record of 14 saves in a match in the English Premier League. Although he did not glitter in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he still has time to prove himself for his national team.
Ronaldo first scored against him when De Gea played for his previous club, Athletico Madrid, in the 2010 Copa Del Rey quarter-final. In 2012, Ronaldo said he would not celebrate scoring a goal against his former manager Sir Alex and club Manchester United, but that didn't stop his fans from celebrating. In the first leg, he jumped up high in the air to beat Evra scoring a header. In the reverse fixture, he pushed Higuain's square pass into the goal.
In the 2018 World Cup, after David De Gea had greatly improved, the Portuguese striker showed him that being better is nothing in front of being the best. Ronaldo scored 3 goals in the group stage match against Spain, first an early penalty making him go the opposite side and then with a shot from outside the box which De Gea fumbled to let it in. Finally, when they were losing by a goal, he scored one of his amazing curling freekicks behind the Spanish wall and into the back of the net.
4. Thibaut Courtois
The tallest and youngest man in this list is the Belgian goalkeeper. He helped Belgium reach the semi-finals and finish third in the World Cup in 2018, which is Belgium's best ever ranking. He had a save percentage of 76%, conceding only 6 goals, which earned him the Golden Glove award. His performance has helped his career as he has signed a six-year contract with Spanish giants Real Madrid. He still has a lot of time to prove his mettle at the new club and also take Belgium to even bigger heights.
Ronaldo scored against him when both of them were in their previous clubs; Ronaldo in Real Madrid and Courtois in Athletico Madrid. In 2011, he scored a hat-trick against him by scoring one penalty, one freekick and a long shot from far outside the box. The next year he scored two more, a header and another of his flagships, a free kick. Most of his freekick goals against Athletico Madrid were against Curtois.
In the Euro 2012, Ronaldo pushed another header into the net. In 2013, he showed Courtois his attentiveness when he scored a pass by Carvajal to Bale, where Bale fumbled on receiving it, making it clear for Ronaldo to shoot it into the net. The next year they faced each other in the UCL final, which was the first for Courtois. Ronaldo scored the last goal in the 120th minute to seal Real Madrid's 11th UCL win.
5. Petr Cech
The Czech goalkeeper is the second tallest man in this list. He has a truckload of records to his credit, like reaching a 100 clean sheets in 180 matches in EPL and winning the Premier League Golden Glove with two teams a total of four times. He has also helped his national team to great heights since his debut in 2002 and until his retirement in 2016. He spent 11 years in his former club, Chelsea, where he helped his club win 4 league titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 1 UEFA Europa League, and 1 UEFA Champions League—and all that was after a life-threatening head injury.
Ronaldo's first goal against Cech was when both played for their former teams. In 2008, he scored two goals, one in the Euro Cup from the border of the penalty box on the left corner below Cech's hand and the other by one of his high headers in a Champions League match. In 2012, he scored another header on Joa Moutinho's cross. In 2013, Ronaldo scored a freekick that curled into the goal—Petr Cech tried his best yet failed to stop it. In the same match, he scored another header, running into penalty box through the Chelsea defense.
© 2019 Chandrendu
ShuShu on April 28, 2020:
hahahaha! he scored a penalty against degea. Is that sth to be proud of.