Raheem Sterling netted his 85th Premier League goal on Tuesday, a tally that puts the Manchester City winger ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in the division’s all-time goalscorer standings.
Sterling opened the scoring for his club after 31 minutes against Watford and struck again before half-time to send Pep Guardiola’s charges into the break 2-0 up at the Vicarage Stadium.
The 25-year-old now has 19 for the 2019-20 Premier League season, putting him level with Liverpool marksman Mohamed Salah and a single goal behind Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who in turn trails current league top scorer Jamie Vardy, who boasts 23 strikes to date.
Unlike his challengers for the scoring crown, Sterling is not an orthodox centre-forward, playing primarily in a wide position for City since moving from Liverpool in 2015.
And when it comes to hitting the net, the England international belongs to a select club of stars who have posed a regular goal-scoring threat from outside the forward line.
Tuesday’s double marked his 84th and 85th league goals, which means he has now surpassed Ronaldo’s United mark – scored, like Sterling, mostly as a winger.
In the history of the Premier League only five non-strikers have managed to score more than the City star.
Sterling now shares sixth place on that list with Eden Hazard, who also netted 85 times during his time at Chelsea.
Ahead of that pair sit Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier, who scored 100 Premier League goals with the Saints – a number that ascends to 160 when taking into account his strikes in the First Division prior to 1992-93.
Next is Paul Scholes, the author of 107 goals while at Manchester United, with long-time Reds team-mate Ryan Giggs a nose in front with 109.
And, unsurprisingly, the list is topped by a formidable pair: current Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, who notched an incredible 177 strikes with the Blues; and Steven Gerrard, with 120 for Liverpool.
Sterling’s haul of 19 for 2019-20 also sees him beat his own personal best for a single season, set in 2017-18 as City won the English crown.
After initially struggling in front of goal as a youngster he has now recorded 17 goals or more in the last four campaigns, and if he can keep up that pace the star has plenty of time to challenge Lampard and Gerrard as the Premier League’s most prolific non-striker in history.