Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up for Manchester United once again in midweek against Atalanta.

Ronaldo’s brace secured a 2-2 draw away from home and took his tally to five goals in four games.

The United forward’s second goal drew high praise from pundit Paul Merson after he scored.

Merson told Sky Sports: “It’s got to be one of the best finishes of all-time; it’s just out of absolutely nothing.

“It’s absolutely phenomenal and his first goal was brilliant as well.”


Ronaldo is now up to five goals in four games to start this Champions League season. At the age of 36 he has still got it and has a lot more to offer.

Best start in four years

Ronaldo’s is enjoying a better start to this Champions League campaign than in any of his three seasons at Juventus.

  • 20/21: Missed first two games due to Covid and then scored four in four.
  • 19/20: One goal in his first four group stage matches.
  • 18/19: One goal in his first four group stage matches, and one red card.

In the 2017/18 season for Real Madrid he went one better than this, scoring six goals in his first four games.

That season he scored an incredible 15 goals in 13 games as Real went on to lift the trophy.

Here is a look at more data from Ronaldo’s opening four group games for Real Madrid and through his career.

  • 17/18: Six goals in opening four games.
  • 16/17: Two goals in first four games.
  • 15/16: Five goals in first four games – matching this current run.
  • 14/15: Three goals in first four games.
  • 13/14: A staggering eight goals in four matches.
  • 12/13: Five goals in four games.
  • 11/12: Three goals in four games.
  • 10/11: One goal in four games.
  • 09/10: Six goals in his first four games.

What this shows is that during Ronaldo’s Real Madrid and Juventus career, he has only bettered this current Manchester United start to the Champions League three times, in 17/18, 13/14, and 09/10, and matched it a further two times.

To be scoring as prolifically as he current is for United on the big stage really is quite remarkable at his age.

LDU Quito v Manchester United - FIFA Club World Cup Final
(Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

Here is a look at the data from Ronaldo’s previous starts to Champions League campaigns with Manchester United.

  • 08/09: 0 goals in first four games.
  • 07/08: Four goals in first four games.
  • 06/07: Two goals in first four games.
  • 05/06: 0 goals in first four games.
  • 04/05: Two goals in four games.
  • 03/04: 0 goals in four games.

As this shows, Cristiano Ronaldo’s start to the 2021/22 Champions League campaign is his best ever in a Manchester United shirt, bettering the four in four in 2007/08.

In a wider context the 2021/22 is his joint third best ever start to a Champions League season in 18 years of football at the top level.

What he is doing is ‘phenomenal’ and there should be a lot more to come from him still. United will be relying on him in upcoming matches against Villarreal and Young Boys.

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