Cristiano Ronaldo just got back from injury, but he’s already Real Madrid’s star again


Cristiano Ronaldo has a perfect record of scoring against his former clubs. He scored a fantastic free kick against Sporting Lisbon his first time facing them in a Manchester United shirt, and he's grabbed three goals in a Madrid shirt against his old club United, including THAT header in the 2013 Champions League quarterfinal.

Tonight, with Madrid down 1-0 to Ronaldo's boyhood club in the 89th minute, Ronaldo scored this pearler of a free kick to bring the match even.

There wasn't anything Rui Patricio could do about it. Perfect power and placement, despite the goalkeeper's admirable effort to get there.

Ronaldo's free kick was special in its own right. It put Madrid level, and it also set a Champions League record: Ronaldo's now scored 12 free kick goals, passing Juventus' Alessandro Del Piero on 11.

This is amazing because Ronaldo's free kick record isn't fantastic. He's got an abysmal conversion rate, and even went over 50 attempts without a goal from a dead ball last year. He only had 12 goals from free kicks for Madrid since the '09/10 season. That all changed when it mattered against Sporting.

Ronaldo had a dream summer, winning the Champions League with Real Madrid then the Euros with Portugal. He was injured in that Euro final and missed the start of this season for the Merengues, but he scored in his return over the weekend and found the net again on Wednesday. It hasn't taken him long to find his footing again at all.

Real Madrid weren't done after Ronaldo's equalizer, and they kept pressing till the very end when Alvaro Morata directed a bullet header past Patricio with just seconds to spare, ensuring the defending champs go off to a perfect start in the opening group stage match.

Alvaro Morata was brought back into the fold from Juventus, and he looks hungrier than ever to prove himself in a Madrid shirt. Ronaldo just came back from his injury at the Euros and it doesn't look like it's slowed him down one bit. That's good news for Zidane and Madrid fans, and bad news for everyone else.