Thursday, 24 June 2021

Ronaldo equals men's international goalscoring record


Cristiano Ronaldo reached another famous landmark as his two penalties in Portugal's 2-2 draw with France took him to 109 international goals, a joint world record for men's football.

Ali Daei, who scored 109 goals for Iran between 1993 and 2006, and Ronaldo are the only two male players to score 90 or more international goals.

This is the latest landmark to push the argument for the 36-year-old to be considered an all-time great.

He is already the top scorer in club football's top tournament, the European Cup/Champions League, a trophy he has won five times.

Against France he became the top European scorer in World Cups and European Championships combined, overtaking Miroslav Klose's record of 19.

He also became the top scorer in European Championship history against Hungary on Tuesday, 15 June and his tally is up to 13 now.

Almost half of Cristiano Ronaldo's goals have come in the final 30 minutes of games.

He has netted 31 times in the final 15 minutes and 22 times between the 61st and 75th minute.

Ronaldo has scored 17 times between minutes 16-30 and 16 times between 31-45, with 11 in the opening 15 minutes of the first half and 12 in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.

Some 89 of his goals have been inside the box with 20 from outside. He has scored 14 penalties and nine free-kicks.

Lithuania and Sweden (seven each) are the sides he has scored the most against. He had not scored against France before Wednesday's game in Budapest.

How Ronaldo's record stacks up

There is no official database for top men's international goalscorers which makes it hard to say exactly who ranks there.

Daei and Ronaldo are top on 109 goals each, of that there is no doubt.

Iran's Daei, who played for Bayern Munich, is said to have broken Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas' record in 2003 with his 85th international goal. That is the year Ronaldo made his international debut - and the Ferenc Puskas Arena in Budapest was where he equalled the record.

Cynics could argue that Daei's goals were against easier opposition - with 95 against fellow Asian sides.

He scored eight against the Maldives and Laos and six against Lebanon.

But Ronaldo has also benefitted from facing weaker nations including six against Andorra and Luxembourg each.

The only question is who ranks below them. Mokhtar Dahari of Malaysia (who played in the 1970s and 80s) is credited as being third in some places with 89 goals - but that figure is unverified.

Puskas is definitely next, with 84 goals in 85 caps for Hungary. He was the top scoring European before Ronaldo.

Zambia's Godfrey Chitalu scored 79 goals between the 1960s and 1980s - although again that figure is not certified.

Ronaldo is unlikely to beat the world record, including women's football, of Canada striker Christine Sinclair. She has scored 186 goals in 299 caps and has not yet retired.

Ronaldo gets one over Messi

In the strange modern-day phenomena of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi fanboys, this is another tick in the Ronaldo column.

He has won an international tournament - Euro 2016 - which Messi has not. Messi is currently playing in the Copa America, though, with Argentina.

Ronaldo's 109 goals in 178 games is well clear of Messi's 73 in 147 - roughly 0.6 goals a game to 0.5.

Messi is 33 so would need another 27 goals to reach 100. That is the amount he has managed since 2015. It would take him another seven years to match Ronaldo's 109 based on current form.

Ronaldo's remarkable international career

The highlight of Ronaldo's international career was undoubtedly winning Euro 2016, although he went off injured early in the final.

He has scored in two Euros semi-finals too, 12 years apart - against the Netherlands in 2004 and Wales in 2016.

His finest hour at a World Cup was a hat-trick against Spain in the group stages three years ago in Russia, including a late free-kick. That is one of his nine international hat-tricks - including one against Switzerland in the 2019 Uefa Nations League semi-finals.

He has also scored in all nine major tournaments he has played in - World Cups and European Championships. Including the Confederations Cup and Nations League, he has scored in 11 out of 11.

Ronaldo has a chance to win his first Golden Boot at a major tournament. He has scored five goals, two more than anybody else

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