Cristiano Ronaldo is in his best scoring form of the season, punctuated by his four-goal masterclass against Girona in La Liga.
Cristiano Ronaldo stumbled his way through the first half of the season to cries of 'He's finished!' At long last was the living legend, closer to 35 than 30, on the wane?
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner had been sidelined through suspension for several La Liga games after a red card in the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona back in August and for months could seemingly only score goals in the Champions League.
In his first 10 La Liga outings of the season, Ronaldo had managed just two goals. After 14 games up to mid-January, it was only four. At that rate, he was on course to finish a domestic league campaign with single figures for the first time 2005/06 when he was a 21-year-old at Manchester United.
The fact that he'd scored in every Champions League group game, eight in total, seemed irrelevant to those who criticized him. But then, something just clicked into place.
As January came to an end, the Portuguese superstar bagged back-to-back La Liga braces in wins over Deportivo and Valencia. Since that time, a 2-2 draw against Levante is the only game, league or otherwise, in which he's played and not scored.
Going back to January, Ronaldo has now scored 18 times in a run of nine La Liga games, culminating in a four-goal haul against Girona over the weekend, a team Real were actually beaten by in the reverse fixture back in October.
Including the two-legged Champions League Last 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain, that tally stands at 21 goals in his last 10 games in all competitions. It's also as many as eight games in a row that he has scored in on this run, and 17 goals during that time.
From a slow start to the season, Ronaldo has now scored more goals in all competitions than any other player in Europe. His current tally of 37 is better than Mohamed Salah (36), Lionel Messi and Harry Kane (both 35), and Edinson Cavani (33).
In La Liga alone, the player who had scored just four goals by mid-January has now scored 22. Only Messi (25) has found the net more often, and Ronaldo's great rival has played five games more.
The hat trick that Ronaldo scored against Real Sociedad on February 10 was the 49th of his illustrious career, making the one against Girona on Sunday the landmark 50th. To think that he has taken just 50 games to score more than 150 goals is truly remarkable.
Ronaldo continues to score at a rate of more than one per game for Real, with his overall tally for the club now 443 in 429 appearances in all competitions. Within that, he's scored 307 in 288 La Liga games, and only Messi, who had a five-year head start has ever scored more (373).
In total, Ronaldo has scored 566 club goals. That number grows to 645 career goals when taking into account his 79 for Portugal over the years. This truly is a living legend.