Cristiano Ronaldo maybe 35 years old, but the Portuguese superstar doesn’t seem like he is going to stop any time soon. On Tuesday night at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Ronaldo inspired Portugal to a 2-0 success in the UEFA Nations League, with a brace that included a sensational free-kick.
That free-kick was Ronaldo’s 100th goal for Portugal, made him only the second male player to score 100 goals in international football. Ronaldo is now only nine goals away from beating the record, which is currently held by Iranian legend Ali Daei.
Amongst currently active footballers, Ronaldo is easily the highest scorer in international football, with the next best – India’s Sunil Chhetri – having scored 72 goals for his nation. Lionel Messi has scored 70 times for the Argentine in international football.
100 – Cristiano Ronaldo has scored his 100th goal for Portugal; he’s only the second ever male player to score 100+ for his national side, after Ali Daei for Iran (109). Landmark. pic.twitter.com/ElpBLRrGjQ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 8, 2020
Ronaldo made his international debut in 2003 and scored his first goal for his country in the group stage loss to Greece UEFA EURO 2004, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Ronaldo scored with a perfectly struck free-kick to open the scoring for Portugal on Tuesday nigh tin Stockholm. He then rounded off the win for the Portuguese, with a superbly placed strike from outside the box in the 72 minutes.
🇵🇹 Cristiano Ronaldo has scored his 100th international goal – has now scored for Portugal in 17 successive calendar years
2020 1 pic.twitter.com/glhDClD82q
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) September 8, 2020
🇸🇪 Sweden 0-2 Portugal🇵🇹 : Man of the Match – @Cristiano
⚽️ Goals – 2
🥅 Shots (OT) – 7(5)
🤤 Dribbles – 2
🎯 Pass Accuracy – 93.9%
📈 Rating – 8.88
🤯 101 International Goals pic.twitter.com/sGM8IyX0Uc
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 8, 2020
165 games. 100 goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the first man in history to reach a century for a European country in international football. 🐐 pic.twitter.com/Md3K5BjGzU
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 8, 2020
Ronaldo has also made a habit out of scoring landmark goals with free-kicks. Last night, he scored the 57th free-kick of his career and his 10th for Portugal.
• 100th goal for Man Utd was a free kick.
• Last goal for Man Utd was a free kick.
• 1st UCL goal for Real Madrid was a freekick.
• 200th goal for Real Madrid was a free kick.
• 100th International goal was a free kick.
🐐 Cristiano Ronaldo.
Greatest free kick taker ever. pic.twitter.com/mqlHU3BwZK
— UEFA Cristiano League (@UCR7L) September 9, 2020
57 & 10 – Cristiano Ronaldo’s landmark goal for Portugal was scored via a direct-free kick; it was the 57th time in his career that he has scored in this manner, and the 10th for Portugal. Incredible. https://t.co/0ztGeknzNU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 8, 2020
With his 101st goal for his country, Ronaldo is well ahead of some other bonafide legends of the game, in terms of the number of goals scored for their country.
Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 100 international goals.
66 more than Maradona
39 more than Neymar
38 more than Ronaldo Nazário
30 more than Messi
23 more than Pele.pic.twitter.com/HCIEnKo3wI
— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) September 8, 2020
Cristiano Ronaldo (101) has now scored as many international goals as Thierry Henry (51) and Robin van Persie (50) combined!
Ridiculous numbers 🤯 pic.twitter.com/a8KbOS3P2p
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 8, 2020
Age no bar for Cristiano Ronaldo
Despite now being well well on what people perceive to be the wrong side of the 30s, Ronaldo is showing no signs of slowing down.
Ronaldo has scored more goals in international football AFTER turning 30 than Sergio Aguero in his entire international career. The Portuguese superstar has scored 49 goals since he turned 30 in 2015. Aguero has 41 international goals in his entire career.
The 2010 World Cup was also a turning point in Ronaldo’s international career. The managerial change for the national team, with Paulo Bento replacing Carlos Queiroz worked wonders for him. Ronaldo has scored 78 goals in 89 games after that tournament. Until then, he had scored just 23 goals in the 76 games that he had represented his country in.
With four international fixtures coming up in the next two months for Portugal, followed by the big tournament in the summer, it would take a brave man to bet on Ali Daei’s record standing beyond the summer of 2021.