Manchester United: Cristiano reclaims UEFA Champions League record from Lionel Messi

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Scroll through the gallery to see Manchester Unite
Scroll through the gallery to see Manchester United in action against Atalanta during their UCL clash

Cristiano Ronaldo reclaimed a UEFA Champions League record from Lionel Messi as he rose to the occasion to spare Manchester United's blushes in their comeback win over Atalanta on Wednesday night.  

The Premier League giants looked all but defeated as Gian Piero Gasperini's side entered half-time with a 2-0 lead, but three second-half goals from Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Ronaldo gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team a much-needed win.  

Scroll through the gallery above to see United in action against Atalanta

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner holds a number of records in the competition, including being the all-time leading goalscorer and appearance holder, but his most recent strike took his tally of opponents scored against to 39, a new UCL record. 

Ronaldo had previously held the record before Lionel Messi's brace against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night saw the Argentine draw level with the Portugal captain on 38 teams scored against in the tournament, but the Red Devils striker is now once again the sole holder. 

After the match, Solskjaer sang the praises of his record-breaking talisman following the thrilling comeback.  

Read: Only 4 clubs have more UCL wins than CR7

"Cristiano is great in front of goal," the Norwegian manager told BT Sport.  

"If anyone wants to criticise him for effort and work rate, just watch this game. Watch how he runs around. 

"I was really, really pleased with how [Ronaldo] led the line. Run the channels, drop in, press more, we want to get the crowd behind us.

"He was down inside his own six-yard box at the end, you see him sprinting, he did everything a centre-forward should do. And the goal is what he does better than most." 

Here are 11 stars with the most hat-tricks in the 21st century, including Ronaldo

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United & Portugal
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United & Portugal) - 58 hat-tricks
6. Mario Gomez (retired) - 18 hat-tricks
6. Mario Gomez (retired) - 18 hat-tricks
3. Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid & Uruguay)
3. Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid & Uruguay)
10. Edinson Cavani (Manchester United & Uruguay) -
10. Edinson Cavani (Manchester United & Uruguay) - 15 hat-tricks
7. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (VV HC´03 & Netherlands) -
7. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (VV HC´03 & Netherlands) - 18 hat-tricks
4. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich & Poland) - 2
4. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich & Poland) - 26 hat-tricks
11. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur & England) - 15
11. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur & England) - 15 hat-tricks
8. Sergio Aguero (Barcelona & Argentina) - 18 hat-
8. Sergio Aguero (Barcelona & Argentina) - 18 hat-tricks
5. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain & Brazil) - 20 hat-
5. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain & Brazil) - 20 hat-tricks
2. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain & Argentina)
2. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain & Argentina) - 53 hat-tricks
9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan & Sweden) - 17 hat
9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan & Sweden) - 17 hat-tricks