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More goals and more assists: Ronaldo claims Champions League bragging rights over Messi

Elsewhere tonight, Pep Guardiola handed a debut to 17-year-old Phil Foden as Man City enjoyed a 1-0 win over Feyenoord.

CRISTIANO RONALDO’S ONGOING battle with Lionel Messi shows no sign of abating, with the Real Madrid man now topping more Champions League charts.

Holders Madrid powered into the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday as Ronaldo struck twice in a 6-0 rout of Apoel in Nicosia.

Karim Benzema also scored a brace alongside goals from Luka Modric and Nacho, although Real will advance as runners-up of Group H after Tottenham Hotspur secured top spot with a win 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund.

The Portuguese teed up Bemzema to record his 27th assist in Europe’s premier club competition over the last 10 years.

Nobody can claim to have bettered that return, with the four-time Ballon d’Or winner and recent recipient of the top award in the Goal 50 continuing to raise the bar when it comes to individual achievement.

Ronaldo already topped the charts regarding all-time Champions League assists, with his tally lifting him above Barcelona talisman Messi and other iconic figures such as Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs and Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

He is also the leading marksman among the continental elite, as the only man to have netted more than 100 times among elite competition.

Ronaldo has endured uncharacteristic struggles for goals this season, but he remains a key figure for Zinedine Zidane’s side even when he is not finding the target himself.

The 32-year-old has just 10 efforts to his name in 2017-18, with just one of those having come in La Liga, but his remarkable strike rate in the Champions League has seen him set another benchmark.

Real will be hoping to see Ronaldo build on his midweek outing against Apoel and carry momentum towards the hectic festive period.

-Omni

***

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City secured top spot in Champions League Group F after Raheem Sterling’s late strike snatched a 1-0 win over Feyenoord on Tuesday.

With City having already booked a place in the last 16, Guardiola shuffled his pack, making seven changes to his starting XI, and he had to wait until the 88th minute for his side to make the breakthrough.

Sterling’s strike, after a one-two with Ilkay Gundogan, means City have now won their last 17 games in all competitions, including a victory on penalties over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup.

Shakhtar Donetsk’s defeat at Napoli meant City would have topped the group regardless of the result at the Etihad Stadium, but Sterling’s goal maintained their 100 percent record in the competition.

The match also gave Guardiola an opportunity to hand a competitive debut to 17-year-old midfielder Phil Foden, star of England’s recent triumph at the Under-17 World Cup, who came on as a late substitute.

Having failed to match Napoli’s result, Dutch champions Feyenoord cannot now secure even the consolation of a Europa League berth.

– © AFP 2017

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