Ronaldo claims Best goals record
Manchester Utd edge closer to another English Premier League title as Chelsea slip.
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2008 06:49 GMT

Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson says Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kick was 'marvellous' [GALLO/GETTY]

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese midfielder, was hailed as a footballing "genius" after he eclipsed George Best as the highest-scoring winger in Manchester United's history and helped the Red Devils edge closer to another English Premier League title.
Ronaldo took his United scoring tally for the season to a remarkable 33 goals in all competitions after netting twice as Sir Alex Ferguson's side defeated Bolton 2-0 at Old Trafford.
United, who host fourth-placed Liverpool on Sunday, are now in a strong position to defend their Premier League title after opening up a three-point advantage over second-placed Arsenal with eight games to play.

Ronaldo surpassed Best's record of 32 goals in a single season, set in 1967-68, with two first-half strikes, the first an opportunist finish from 12 yards, and the second a stunning 30-yard free-kick.

"The second goal was genius," said Gary Megson, Bolton manager.

"I honestly don't know how he does it. Even my lads were talking about it."

Gary Megson, Bolton manager,
on Ronaldo's free-kick
"I honestly don't know how he does it. Even my lads were talking about it."

Ferguson was equally glowing in his praise of Ronaldo, who was made captain for the night in the absence of Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney.

"He didn't make a big issue of it," said Sir Alex when asked how Ronaldo reacted to being handed the captain's armband.

"He looks comfortable with the responsibility that comes with the role. It was a marvellous second goal."

A worthy successor

Ferguson also regarded Ronaldo as a worthy successor to the legendary Best.

"It speaks volumes of the boy's ability (the record)," the Scot said.

"It's amazing that he can do that playing in the position he does. Nobody can do that in this day and age.

"The free-kick was marvellous. He does put in the practice and he has this technique."

Bolton failed to improve their chances of survival as they sit deep in relegation trouble after losing their last five Premier League games.

Chelsea fail to capitalise

Meanwhile, title contenders Chelsea suffered a blow when they were held to an exciting 4-4 draw against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

The Blues looked certain to keep the pressure on United as they led three times during the match, but a combination of poor defending and a spirited Spurs fight back left Avram Grant's side frustrated.

Grant was determined to remain upbeat even though Chelsea are now five points behind leaders United and two points adrift of second-placed Arsenal.

Sunday's home clash against the Gunners now holds immense importance for Chelsea as a defeat to their north London rivals would effectively kill off any hopes of winning the title for a third time in four seasons.

"We are still in the race and we will continue fighting like we did until now," Grant said.

"Sunday is another game. It is a good game. Every game for Chelsea is a big game.

"We are closer to Arsenal than we were before. It's a tough game but we want to win."

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
join our mailing list