CRISTIANO RONALDO became the architect of more history after he became only the second player in history to reach 100 international goals when Portugal overcame Sweden 2-0 in the Nations League on Tuesday night.
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The Juventus superstar did it in the best way he knew how courtesy of a brilliantly orchestrated free-kick which found its way into the top corner. The 35-year-old’s achievement on the night places him now just nine away from the all-time record, held by Iran legend Ali Daei.
The next closest player behind Ronaldo is Malaysia’s Mokhtar Dahari, who played from 1972 to 1986; racking up an impressive 85 goals. India’s Sunil Chhetri is the closest active player to Ronaldo with 72 international goals to his name and two ahead of the Argentine maestro, Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo famously scored his first international goal in Portugal’s opening game against Greece in the 2004 Euros; scoring a consolation goal in injury time as the hosts lost 2-1. He would score again in the semi-final against the Netherlands before Greece would once again win against his side in the final.
Fast-forward 10 years and the former Manchester United winger would become his country’s all-time top scorer against Cameroon in a friendly in 2014, after a hat-trick in the World Cup qualifier a few months before had put him level on 47 with his compatriot from a few years before, Pauleta.
His three goals at the 2016 Euros further earned him the silver boot and helped Portugal clinch the tournament’s honours although he had gone off early against co-finalists France due to injury. Ronaldo’s hat-trick in Portugal’s opening game of the 2018 World Cup against Spain put him level with Ferenc Puskas as Europe’s all-time top scorer.
The winner against Morocco in the next game gave him the record on his own and now after scattering Sweden aside, Ronaldo has reached the triple-figure mark with the next clear assignment being that long-standing Daei mark.