Cristiano Ronaldo is rumoured to be on the brink of leaving Real Madrid, with Manchester United heading a list of clubs who could snap up the Ballon d’Or winner.
The Portuguese superstar starred for the Red Devils between 2003 and 2009, but took his game to another level after joining Madrid for a world record fee.
At the Bernabeu, Ronaldo has scored a remarkable 406 goals in 394 games, flying past the previous record of 323 set by Raul (in 741 games).
Meanwhile, at Old Trafford, his old team-mate Wayne Rooney has become Man United’s record goal scorer, reaching 253 in 559 games, four clear of Sir Bobby Charlton.
So, if Ronaldo were to return to United, could he go past Rooney’s Red Devils’ record?
Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games for United during his time at Old Trafford, meaning he would need to score 136 goals to overtake Rooney’s present haul, if the four-time Champions League winner returned to his old club.
That is assuming Rooney doesn’t add to his tally, which is possible considering the Englishman has fallen down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho and could well be sold this summer.
In order to score another 136 goals for United, Ronaldo would need to score at the following rates:
68 goals per season for two seasons, or
45.33 goals per season for three seasons, or
34 goals per season for four seasons, or
27.2 goals per season for five seasons
By way of comparison, Ronaldo’s top goal scoring season for United came when he hit 42 in 49 games in the 2007/08 campaign.
At Real Madrid, his end of season tallies since 2009/10 have been: 33, 53, 60, 55, 51, 61, 51, and 42.
So it would seem, realistically, Ronaldo would need to play four or five seasons with United to have any chance of overtaking Rooney (if the Englishman doesn’t add to his tally).
That would mean Ronaldo being 36 or 37 when he reached the United record.
To put that into context, at 35 years old, Zlatan Ibrahmovic became the oldest player to reach 15 Premier League goals in one season, going on to hit 17 in a total of 28 in all competitions for United last season.
It’s not impossible, then, for Ronaldo to become United’s record goal scorer, though it is unlikely.
The mere fact it is even considered possible for Ronaldo to achieve such a feat explains just how phenomenal a player he still is, and why United are interested in signing him for a second time.