What a week for Cristiano Ronaldo.
With his 110th career goal in a UEFA World Cup Qualifying tilt against Ireland, Ronaldo broke the record he previously shared with Iran’s Ali Daei to become the all-time top scorer in men’s international soccer history.
In true Ronaldo style, he did it in dramatic fashion in Portugal’s 2-1 win against Ireland.
Down 1-0 and staring at their first loss in four Group A games during qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Portugal needed a moment of magic.
They got it from their captain, who evened the score with a towering header in the 89th minute. In doing so, Ronaldo became the first men’s player to reach the 110-goals mark on the international stage.
For good measure, here is the goal called in Spanish.
At home in the Estádio Algarve in Faro-Loulé, Portugal, the moment was perfect — as was the ball from Gonçalo Guedes, it must be said.
Ronaldo wasn’t finished there, though.
Evening the score and setting the record weren’t enough for the superstar. He needed the win.
And he got it with another header in the final seconds of stoppage time.
Naturally, sealing the win with two goals in a matter of minutes meant Ronaldo waving farewell to his jersey.
Sure, he picked up a yellow card for removing his shirt, but missing the next match due to yellow-card accumulation is a small price to pay.
After the match, Ronaldo discussed his excitement about claiming the record and what keeps him motivated since making his senior Portugal debut in 2003 at the age of 18.
“This record is mine, and it is unique. I’m extremely happy, and it’s another one for my career,” Ronaldo said via UEFA.com.
“[The motivation comes from] the desire I have to continue playing football, also from this last contract I made [at Manchester United], in which I was happy to return home. If we get up every day with the ambition to do better, to make the fans and our children happy, that is essential.”
The record certainly didn’t come easily against Ireland. Earlier in the match, Ronaldo had an opportunity to claim goal No. 110 with a kick from the penalty spot, but Ireland’s Gavin Bazunu turned the effort away.
It was a rare miss from the spot for Ronaldo, who hadn’t missed a penalty for Portugal since the 2018 World Cup in Russia against Iran, according to Squawka Football.
Still, Ronaldo led Portugal with eight shots, four of which were on target, in the match Wednesday. And in the end, he got his record, and Portugal got the win.
Ronaldo posted a lengthy message to Instagram after snapping the record. In it, he thanked Daei for setting the previous high-water mark.
As it stands, Ronaldo’s men’s record will be tough to beat. The two active players who are closest to his total of 111 goals are 30-year-old Ali Mabkhout of the United Arab Emirates and Ronaldo’s familiar rival, 34-year-old Argentina superstar Lionel Messi.
Here’s how social media reacted to Ronaldo’s monumental milestone:
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