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Cristiano Ronaldo joins Premier League’s ‘century club’

Cristiano Ronaldo, centre, scores against Arsenal for his 100th Premier League goal (John Walton/PA)
Cristiano Ronaldo, centre, scores against Arsenal for his 100th Premier League goal (John Walton/PA)

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th Premier League goal as Manchester United lost 3-1 to Arsenal on Saturday.

The Portugal forward is the 33rd player to reach the landmark, and the fourth this season alone.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the ‘century club’.

Slow start for Ronaldo

When selected players reached 100 Premier League goals
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 223 games to reach 100 leaves him in the middle of the pack (PA graphic)

Ronaldo ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of appearances taken to reach three figures, with his 223 games placing him 16th.

Alan Shearer, still the Premier League’s record scorer with 260 goals, was quickest to a century in 124 games, ahead of Harry Kane (141) and Sergio Aguero (147). Thierry Henry and Mohamed Salah complete the top five. Shearer is also the only man to achieve the feat with two different clubs, Blackburn and Newcastle.

Ronaldo ranks just behind former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba (220) and ahead of Darren Bent (226).

Alan Shearer is presented with a Newcastle/Blackburn half-and-half shirt after scoring 100 Premier League goals for each club
Alan Shearer was quickest to 100 and achieved the feat with both Blackburn and Newcastle (Martin Rickett/PA)

Eleven players have reached the mark in under 200 games, with 13 more breaking 300 and then Jermain Defoe and Raheem Sterling taking 303 and 304 games respectively. The remaining six took over 400 games, with Ryan Giggs’ 534 being the highest figure.

Ronaldo’s ranking reflects a slow start to his career on the scoring front, having first been signed by United as a teenager while playing as a traditional winger rather than the centre-forward he has evolved into.

He scored one goal in his first 21 Premier League appearances and 10 in his first 70, recording single-figure league goal tallies in his first three seasons before going on to score 17, 31 and 18 in his final three seasons before leaving for Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo, centre,  celebrates an early United goal with Ryan Giggs, left, and Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Cristiano Ronaldo, centre, began his United career as a flying winger (Martin Rickett/PA)

He had 84 goals under his belt at that stage and, after going on to score 311 in LaLiga, 81 in Serie A and 551 in all competitions across his spells at Real and Juventus, he has 16 in 27 appearances upon his return.

His Real total makes him one of only four players to hit a century in two of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues. Current team-mate Edinson Cavani and former United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic did so in Ligue 1 and Serie A, while Gonzalo Higuain has three figures in Spain and Italy. Ronaldo, uniquely, has further centuries in the Champions League and for his country.

Golden age

Raheem Sterling, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, l-r
Raheem Sterling, left, followed Liverpool pair Mohamed Salah, centre, and Sadio Mane to a century earlier this season (Barrington Coombs/Peter Byrne/PA)

Ronaldo is the fourth man to reach the milestone this season, following Liverpool pair Salah in September and Sadio Mane the following month and then Manchester City forward Sterling in December.

That is the most ever in a single Premier League campaign, bettering the three in both 2008-09 – when Frank Lampard and Emile Heskey both achieved the feat on November 1 and were followed six weeks later by Nicolas Anelka – and 2009-10 when Manchester United trio Giggs, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes all hit three figures.

Ronaldo’s landmark goal means seven of the 33 members of the century club are active Premier League players, the others being Kane, Jamie Vardy and Romelu Lukaku.

That mark has been surpassed in previous years, peaking at 12 during the 2011-12 season with Giggs, Anelka, Lampard, Rooney, Bent, Drogba, Michael Owen, Scholes, Heskey, Robbie Keane, Defoe and Henry.

A first for Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo, left, celebrates a goal with compatriot Bruno Fernandes
Cristiano Ronaldo, left, celebrates a goal with compatriot Bruno Fernandes (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ronaldo is the first Portuguese player to reach a century of Premier League goals, with Diogo Jota and Bruno Fernandes his only compatriots to even pass 30.

It means there are now 12 nationalities represented on the list, with 20 of the 33 players hailing from England.

The only other countries with more than one representative are France, courtesy of Henry and Anelka, and Holland thanks to Robin van Persie and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

There seems little immediate prospect of an addition to that category, unless Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke can add another 14 to his tally of 86 to join Lukaku as a second Belgian.

Among the other current players who could reach 100, Son Heung-min (87), Riyad Mahrez (76) and Roberto Firmino (71) would be the first representatives from South Korea, Algeria and Brazil respectively. Englishman Theo Walcott looks unlikely to add sufficiently to his 78 top-flight goals.

The other nations currently represented are Argentina, Egypt, the Republic of Ireland, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Trinidad and Tobago and Wales.