Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most influential soccer players of all time, with a trophy cabinet that’s staggering and a collection of records that will probably never be bettered.
The Portuguese legend has had one of the most incredible careers ever and has cemented his place at the top table of soccer stars.
An elite player for almost two decades, Ronaldo has enjoyed some genuinely incredible seasons as a professional player, having won many of the most prestigious trophies available.
It’s hard to quantify which seasons stand out the most for Ronaldo; so many were truly exceptional that picking an overall winner was difficult.
For varying reasons, we’ve selected seven seasons that seem to have been standout seasons for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Whether it be for titles won, domestic or international trophies won, or just for seasons where the Portuguese stood out above every other player, this list shows just how truly exceptional a player Ronaldo has been over his long career.
Here are Cristiano Ronaldo’s 7 best seasons in his career.
7. 2020/2021 Season
- Club: Juventus
- Titles: Italian Super Cup, Italian Cup
- Achievements: EURO 2020 top scorer, Serie A top scorer
It’s no secret that Cristiano Ronaldo takes his international career very seriously; his long career for Portugal has brought the player multiple individual records as well as a UEFA European Championships.
2021 was a landmark year for Ronaldo, though, as he became the record goalscorer in the European Championships with 11 goals.
As well as being the record holder for the number of goals scored, Ronaldo also became the first player to score at five consecutive European Championships. It’s an incredible feat in itself, but even more so when you think about how long the Portuguese player has had to be at the very top.
In 2021, Ronaldo seemed to pick up record after record; he became the oldest player to score two goals in a game in the Euros, the most-capped European player of all time, and the highest-scoring international player of all time. And all of this comes in what is usually the twilight years of a player’s career.
6. 2018/2019 Season
- Club: Juventus
- Titles: Serie A, Italian Super Cup
- Achievements: Juventus POTY
In 2018 Ronaldo finally left Real Madrid and signed for Italian giants Juventus. Incredibly, the Portuguese broke even more records with his move, as he became the first player over 30 to cost €100 million. The move also made Ronaldo the most expensive transfer in Italian history.
While in the Serie A, Ronaldo would win two Serie A titles, the Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana, further adding to his incredible trophy haul. Ronaldo would finish his time in Italy as the highest-scoring Portuguese player in Serie A history, scoring over 100 goals for Juventus in all competitions.
The phenomenal goalscorer would become the first player to score 50 goals in the three top leagues in Italy, Spain, and England.
For those who can’t decide whether Messi or Ronaldo is the best player ever, it’s worth considering that Ronaldo can score anywhere, playing for any team. He’s proved it in three of the most competitive leagues in the world. I listed Messi’s best seasons in this post.
5. 2009/2010 Season
- Club: Real Madrid
It’s a testament to how good Ronaldo is as a soccer player that eight years after moving to Real Madrid for a then world-record fee of €80 million, that he would be sold for even more than was paid for him.
However, in 2009, the move of one of the world’s most promising players to Real Madrid was one of the year’s biggest stories.
After several seasons of flirting with the move to Madrid, when Ronaldo finally did get sold to Real Madrid, over 80,000 fans turned up at the Santiago Bernabeu to greet their new superstar player.
2009 would mark the beginning of a new and insanely successful part of Ronaldo’s career, where he would go on to win multiple La Liga, Champions Leagues, and Ballon d’Or trophies.
4. 2015/2016 Season
- Club: Real Madrid
- Titles: Champions League
- Achievements: Champions League top scorer
It took Cristiano Ronaldo a mere six seasons in Spain to become Real Madrid’s all-time record goalscorer, finally beating the legendary Spanish striker Raul in September 2015.
Ronaldo had scored 230 goals in just 203 games, making his progress and lethal accuracy almost beyond the club’s wildest dreams.
By the time Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid, he had scored an incredible 311 goals in just 292 games, making him the second-highest scorer in La Liga history, behind only Lionel Messi. It took Ronaldo just 92 games to score 100 goals, beating the previous record held by Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas.
By the end of the 2015-16 season, the player had also scored over 50 goals in the previous six seasons, an astonishing statistic.
Not only could Ronaldo score with both feet, but he was also superb at free kicks and is regarded as possibly the finest header of a ball of all time, generating pace, power, and accuracy, often after out jumping every player around him.
3. 2008/2009 Season
- Club: Manchester United
- Titles: Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup
- Achievements: Ballon d’Or (2008)
Early in his career, Cristiano Ronaldo had looked like an astonishing talent, but sometimes the end product was lacking.
Game experience and harsh mentoring by Alex Ferguson at Manchester United helped the player settle down and to finally understand that showboating, while fun to watch, needed an end product.
It’s a landmark for any player when they score their 00th goal, but given that Ronaldo had scored his 100th goal before he was 24, it was clear that the player was going to be one of the greatest players on the planet.
At the time, the only player scoring goals with such regularity was Lionel Messi, and the two superstars would go head to head for the greatest honors in soccer for the next decade.
2008-09 wasn’t the most prolific season in his career, nor was it the most trophy-laden; what it did show was Ronaldo was going to be one of the most lethal players ever seen.
It is also telling that by the end of the season, the player had been sold to Real Madrid, where his goalscoring record went into overdrive for the next eight seasons.
By 2022, Ronaldo had scored over 800 goals for club and country, though his first century of goals was noticeably remarkable. His starting position was often on the wing for Manchester United, where the youngster would be expected to provide assists, not goals.
Having so quickly hit 100 career goals was a testament to the player’s skill; defenses throughout England breathed a sigh of relief when the player moved to Spain.
2. 2017/18 Season
- Club: Real Madrid
- Titles: Champions League, Spanish Super Cup,
- Achievements: Ballon d’Or, Champions League top scorer
To most players, the Ballon d’Or is a trophy they’ll never get close to. To Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s part of the furniture.
A winner of the most prestigious individual award five times, the Portuguese striker has finished second six times, making him recognized as one of the most accomplished players of all time. Only Lionel Messi has won the trophy more.
The day before winning his fifth Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo became the first player in history to score in all six Champions League group games, and would be awarded the Ballon d’Or 24 hours later in Paris.
By the end of the season, the Portuguese player would win his fifth Champions League title, too; it was the perfect end to the perfect season.
Winning the Ballon d’Or for the second season in a row was incredibly special for Ronaldo; he’s always seemed to be a player that thrives on accolades. He knows he’s one of the very best players ever to play the game, and he demands that his peers acknowledge his achievements.
Playing in the same era as Lionel Messi can’t be easy, and the two stars have won twelve out of the last 13 Ballon d’Or trophies between them.
1. 2016/2017 Season
- Club: Real Madrid
- Titles: EURO 2016, Champions League, La Liga
- Achievements: Ballon d’Or, Champions League top scorer,
Despite being the most complete player of his generation, and has achieved incredible success at Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus, it’s arguable that his greatest ever success was winning the 2016 UEFA European Championships with Portugal.
With over 190 appearances for his country and over 110 goals, it’s clear for everyone to see that playing international soccer matters for Cristiano Ronaldo.
He rarely misses a game, always demands the best from himself and his compatriots, and always plays to win. While that may seem obvious, many professional soccer players find international duties a burden.
When you lose a game when playing for your country, the backlash is often more brutal, and the hopes of a whole country rest on the player’s shoulders.
Many players prefer to concentrate on their club, and while they won’t turn down their country, few look upon international games with the same determination that Cristiano Ronaldo does.
Portugal’s win in the 2016 European Championships over France was their first-ever win in the competition and the first international competition the country had ever won. It is in no small part due to the efforts and sheer brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo that the team went on t lift the trophy.
Despite his dozens of club trophies, league titles, and personal awards, there can be little doubt that this historic win has to rank amongst the most special of Cristiano Ronaldo’s career.
Unlike the clubs he has played for, where buying the best players for every position is a simple matter of opening the club’s wallet, Portugal’s side was, while solid, not the greatest, making the win even more special.
I listed the best seasons of some other all-time greats in these articles: