The questions that needed asking this fall as we examined Spanish scoring star Raul and his all-time best 71 goals in Champions League action were these:
Which of the game’s current global giants, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, would race forward to swipe the record from Raul, who scored the bulk of his goals over 17 storied seasons with Real Madrid? (Messi had a fairly sizeable leg up in the chase coming into the 2013-14 tournament.)
The other question: would one of them do it before the current Champions League campaign ends?
Ronaldo’s hat trick from Tuesday in Real Madrid’s demonstrative 6-1 win over Galatasaray left the Portuguese star with 53 career goals. And with those three strikes he seemed to be closing in on Messi, who started the day with 59.
But the peerless Messi did not end this first round of Champions League group matches with a mere 59. Not after his own hat trick against Ajax, the fourth in Champions League play.
The inevitable questions are being asked about whether Messi is playing off Ronaldo’s totals, hyper aware of Ronaldo’s feats – not to mention the Real Madrid man’s new contract, adorned with commas aplenty?
But does asking these questions diminish what Messi, two years younger than Ronaldo, has accomplished and will accomplish? Does anyone really believe that Messi could not have netted a fourth career Champions League hat trick without the added motivational carrot of keeping ahead of Ronaldo?
Who really knows, I suppose. Either way, here are the updated numbers, what the all-time Champions League scoring leadership looks like:
Leo Messi, 62
Ruud van Nistelrooy, 56
Cristiano Ronaldo, 53
Rapids add longtime Bundesliga winger Aigner from 1860 Munich (highlights)
Aigner has the resume to succeed and perhaps star in MLS, especially if he wasn’t slowed too much by a knee injury last season (He returned and produced at the 2.Bundesliga level).
Here’s what Rapids interim general manager Padraig Smith said:
“We’re excited to add a player of Stefan’s caliber to our roster for the next three-and-a-half years,” said Smith. “As an organization we are committed to fielding a forward-thinking side and bringing in Stefan – a technical and versatile player who can excel in multiple attacking roles – will help us achieve that vision.”
American backstop Ethan Horvath was under siege at home, but his Club Brugge side overcame throwing away a 2-0 deficit to claim a 3-3 draw with İstanbul Başakşehir. The three road goals will give the Turkish visitors every reason to feel good about the Aug. 2 second leg.
Celtic 0-0 Rosenborg
Brendan Rodgers‘ Scottish champions outshot the visitors 12-8, but couldn’t find a way into the goal. Now the Bhoys will have to score in Norway to advance to the next round.
Nice 1-1 Ajax
Mario Balotelli‘s 32nd minute staked Nice to a halftime lead, but the UEFA Europa League finalists snared an away goal through Donny van de Beek to send Ajax back to Holland with a slim advantage.
The Turkish Football Federation statement said Terim, 63, and the federation agreed that “it would be healthier for both sides to part ways,” saying non-football related issues were harming both Terim and the federation.
It also thanked Terim, who has headed the national team since 2013, for his services.
Terim previously managed Galatasaray, Milan and Fiorentina. There was no word on who would replace him.
BVB mid Merino reportedly undergoing Newcastle medical