Cristiano Ronaldo breaks more records in Portugal’s win
By Mukhtar Tijjani
Cristiano Ronaldo made more history on Thursday night during Portugal’s 4-0 victory against minnows Liechtenstein in Lisbon.
In new manager Roberto Martinez’s first game in charge, Ronaldo scored a brace to get Portugal’s Euro 2024 qualifying campaign off to the perfect start.
Bayern Munich star Joao Cancelo and his former Manchester City teammate Bernardo Silva also found the net.Ronaldo, who joined Saudi side Al Nassr in January, captained Portugal against Liechtenstein.
It was his 197th senior game for his country, becoming the most capped player in men’s international football. Yet it wasn’t his only achievement on Thursday night.
Ronaldo also became the first player to score 100 competitive international goals with his brilliant brace in Lisbon.
The veteran’s first strike was a penalty, while his second was a ferocious free kick. It was a reminder of what he still has to offer at the international level.
Ronaldo’s goals mean he has now scored in 20 consecutive years for Portugal. His first goal came in June 2004, when Portugal suffered a 2-1 defeat to Greece during the group stages of Euro 2004 on home soil. They also famously lost the final to Greece.
Since then, the goals have flowed for Ronaldo. He has scored 120 goals for Portugal, making him the leading scorer in the history of men’s international football.
Iran’s Ali Daei is second on that list with 109 goals, while long-term rival Lionel Messi has 98 goals for Argentina.
In terms of caps, Ronaldo’s 197th appearance for Portugal means he’s now in front of Kuwait legend Bader Al-Mutawa (196 caps), Malaysia icon Soh Chin Ann (195), Egypt hero Ahmed Hassan (184) and Oman great Ahmed Mubarak (183).
To add further context to Ronaldo’s achievement, Sergio Ramos is the second-most capped European men’s footballer with 180 senior outings for Spain.
Gianluigi Buffon played 176 times for Italy, while Iker Casillas managed 167 appearances for Spain.
Ronaldo was asked about his desire to break records ahead of Thursday night’s game.
He said, “Records are always positive; it’s my motivation, and as you know, I like to break records.” I have a lot of records, but tomorrow’s is also a special one.
“Being the most capped player in history, I have to confess that it is something that leaves me quite proud.”
“In addition to being the best scorer ever for the national teams, I would also like to be the most internationally capped player.”
“But not only tomorrow; I would like to have a lot of matches in the future.”
Former Swansea, Wigan, and Everton manager Martinez was appointed by Portugal in January following a six-year spell in charge of Belgium.
Also before the game, Martinez was asked whether Ronaldo was part of his long-term plans, as the veteran turned 38 last month.
“Cristiano is a player who is completely committed to the national team,” said Martinez when asked about Ronaldo’s future.
“I don’t look at age or other aspects. He has the chance to help the team and pass on his experience to other players.”