Cristiano Ronaldo broke the all-time international goalscoring record (for men) on Wednesday in a stunning late show for his side, with his 110th and 111th Portugal goals taking him past Iranian great Ali Daei’s mark.
The 36-year-old, whose return to Manchester United from Juventus was confirmed on Tuesday, scored an 89th-minute equaliser in Portugal’s World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in Faro. And then Ronaldo snatched all three points for Portugal in the sixth minute of injury time, rising highest to power in a header from Joao Mario’s right-wing cross.
He had earlier missed a first-half penalty.
Portugal sit top of Group A with 10 points from four matches, although Serbia are only three points behind with a game in hand.
The group winners qualify automatically for next year’s finals in Qatar, with the runners-up heading into the play-offs.
Ronaldo had the chance to do it against Belgium in the round of 16 at Euro 2020 but that match ended in a 1-0 defeat for the 2016 champions. Earlier in that tournament, the second of Ronaldo’s penalties against France was his 109th for Portugal on his 178th appearance, then equalling the world goalscoring record in men’s international matches that had been held by Iran’s Ali Daei since 2006. Ronaldo is now clear on his own. The Portugal captain had topped the Euro 2020 goal charts at the end of the group stage with five goals, becoming the first Portuguese player to score in all three group games at a EURO final tournament.
Ronaldo’s double against Hungary on first matchday maintained his record of scoring in every final tournament in which he has played – 11 in total consisting of five European Championships, four Fifa World Cups, one Fifa Confederations Cup and one Uefa Nations League. The 36-year-old’s two goals against France had increased his tally to 26 in 47 tournament appearances, a record 14 of those at the EURO finals.
Canada’s Christine Sinclair has 180-plus goals, which is the all-time international record for most goals scored.
Ronaldo netted his first international goal in a 2-1 loss to Greece in the opening game of Euro 2004 in Portugal, where the hosts later lost to Greece 1-0 in the final.
Daei, nicknamed the ‘Shariar’ (King in Persian), scored a remarkable 109 goals in 149 appearances for Iran between 1993 and 2006, an achievement many thought would never be matched.
(With AFP inputs)