Following the 2012–13 winter break, Ronaldo captained Real Madrid for the first time in an official match, scoring a brace to lift 10-man Madrid to a 4–3 victory over Real Sociedad on 6 January. He subsequently became the first non-Spanish player in 60 years to captain Madrid in El Clásico on 30 January, a match which also marked his 500th club appearance. Three days prior, he had scored his 300th club goal as part of a perfect hat-trick against Getafe. He scored his 200th goal for Real Madrid on 8 May in a 6–2 win against Málaga, reaching the landmark in 197 games. He helped Madrid reach the Copa del Rey final by scoring twice in El Clásico, which marked the sixth successive match at Camp Nou in which he had scored, a Real Madrid record. In the final, he headed the opening goal of an eventual 2–1 defeat to Atlético Madrid, but was shown a red card for violent conduct. In the first knockout round of the Champions League, Ronaldo faced his former club Manchester United for the first time. After scoring the equaliser in a 1–1 draw at the Santiago Bernabéu, he scored the match-winning goal in a 2–1 victory at Old Trafford, his first return to his former home ground. He did not celebrate scoring against his former club as a mark of respect. After scoring three goals against Galatasaray in the quarters, he scored Madrid’s only goal in the 4–1 away defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals, but failed to increase his side’s 2–0 victory in the second leg, as they were eliminated at the semi-final stage for the third consecutive year.
At the start of the 2013–14 season, Ronaldo signed a new contract that extended his stay by three years to 2018, with a salary of €17 million net, making him briefly the highest-paid player in football. He was joined at the club by winger Gareth Bale, whose world record transfer fee of €100 million surpassed the fee Madrid had paid for Ronaldo four years prior. Together with striker Karim Benzema, they formed an attacking trio popularly dubbed “BBC”, an acronym of Bale, Benzema, and Cristiano, and a play off the name of the public service broadcaster. By late November, Ronaldo had scored 32 goals from 22 matches for both club and country, including hat-tricks against Galatasaray, Sevilla, Real Sociedad, Northern Ireland, and Sweden. He ended 2013 with 69 goals in 59 appearances, his highest year-end goal tally. He received the FIFA Ballon d’Or, an amalgamation of the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award, for the first time in his career.
Concurrently with his individual achievements, Ronaldo enjoyed his greatest team success in Spain to date, as he helped Real Madrid win La Décima, their tenth European Cup. His goal in a 3–0 home win over Borussia Dortmund (his 100th Champions League match) took his total for the season to 14 goals, equalling the record Messi had set two years before. After hitting a brace in a 4–0 defeat of Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, he scored from the penalty spot in the 120th minute of the 4–1 final victory over Atlético Madrid, becoming the first player to score in two European Cup finals for two different winning teams. His overall performance in the final was subdued as a result of patellar tendinitis and related hamstring problems, which had plagued him in the last months of the campaign. Ronaldo played the final against medical advice, later commenting: “In your life you do not win without sacrifices and you must take risks.” As the Champions League top goalscorer for the third time, with a record 17 goals, he was named the UEFA Best Player in Europe.
In the Copa del Rey, Ronaldo helped Madrid reach the final by scoring two penalties against Atlético Madrid at the Vicente Calderón, the first of which meant he had now scored in every single minute of a 90-minute football match. His continued issues with his knee and thigh caused him to miss the final, where Real Madrid defeated Barcelona 2–1 to claim the trophy. Ronaldo scored 31 goals in 30 league games, which earned him the Pichichi and the European Golden Shoe, receiving the latter award jointly with Liverpool striker Luis Suárez. Among his haul was his 400th career goal, in 653 appearances for club and country, which came with a brace against Celta Vigo on 6 January; he dedicated his goals to compatriot Eusébio, who had died two days before. A last-minute, back-heeled volley scored against Valencia on 4 May (his 50th goal in all competitions) was recognised as the best goal of the season by the Liga de Fútbol Profesional, which additionally named Ronaldo the Best Player in La Liga.
During the next campaign, the 2014–15 season, Ronaldo set a new personal best of 61 goals in all competitions, starting with both goals in Real Madrid’s 2–0 victory over Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup. He subsequently achieved his best-ever goalscoring start to a league campaign, with a record 15 goals in the first eight rounds of La Liga. His record 23rd hat-trick in La Liga, scored against Celta Vigo on 6 December, made him the fastest player to reach 200 goals in the Spanish league, as he reached the milestone in only his 178th game. After lifting the FIFA Club World Cup with Madrid in Morocco, and becoming the joint-top assist provider of the competition alongside Toni Kroos, Ronaldo received a second successive FIFA Ballon d’Or, joining Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini, and Marco van Basten as a three-time Ballon d’Or winner.