Cristiano Ronaldo is no stranger to the spectacular.
The Portuguese superstar has been making headlines since he made his debut for Sporting Lisbon as a 17-year-old and he has since gone on to establish himself as one of, if not the, best player of his generation.
His record at both club and international level is remarkable, both in terms of scoring goals and winning titles, and there is little that the winger has not accomplished in a career that has spanned sixteen years and shows no sign of ending any time soon.
However, on Tuesday evening he produced a moment of magic that quite simply took the breath away.
Ronaldo had already put Real Madrid in control of their quarter-final tie in the Champions League against Juventus with an early close-range finish. It gave his side a vital away goal against Italy’s dominant club and also continued his own remarkable goalscoring record in the competition.
Then came one of the most spectacular goals in Champions League history.
Dani Carvajal clipped in a lofted cross into the Juventus eighteen-yard box and there seemed to be little danger as the ball floated towards the penalty spot.
Ronaldo dynamically leapt upwards, appearing to hang momentarily in the air, before producing a perfectly struck, acrobatic overhead kick. The ball flew beyond the astonished Gianluigi Buffon and into the far corner of the net.
Spectacular. Astonishing. Jaw-dropping. It feels that words and superlatives can do no justice to the moment of skill produced.
The normally loud and raucous Juventus Stadium was stunned into silence. Zinedine Zidane, no stranger to creating magic on a football pitch himself, simply put a hand to his head and turned towards the bench.
And then applause broke out from the Juventus supporters – a demonstration of respect for one of the best players in the world.
The goal may have been a joy to behold, the perfect combination of technique and athletic ability, but it was also a fierce reminder that Ronald remains one of the dominant forces in world football.
At 33 years of age some onlookers have suggested that the Portuguese superstar’s powers may be beginning to wain and that his best years are behind him.
This was simply further evidence that such speculation is unfounded.
Ronaldo’s statistics this season are remarkable.
He has scored 23 goals in his last 12 games for Real Madrid and 39 goals in 36 appearances this campaign.
He has scored 43 goals in total for club and country this season.
He has scored in every Champions League tie this campaign, 14 in total, and is the first player to score in all six group games and in 10 consecutive ties.
Furthermore, he is Real Madrid’s all-time leading goal scorer (446) and the all-time leading goal scorer in Champions League history (119).
You would struggle to replicate those figures if you were playing on a computer game.
There is absolutely no sign the Ronaldo’s prowess is in decline and, if anything, he looks more prominent now than ever.
In addition to this, the common accusation that he fails to produce in the ‘big games’ has firmly been dispelled this season.
In the Champions League alone, he has scored against Tottenham Hotspur (both ties), Borussia Dortmund (both ties), Paris Saint Germain (both ties) and Juventus.
Ronaldo truly is a modern genius on the football pitch and his remarkable goal on Tuesday night was a reminder that the 33-year-old intends to remain at the pinnacle of the game for a long time to come.