Cristiano Ronaldo made more history on Wednesday night by scoring his 110th and 111th international goals for Portugal.
The 36-year-old, who recently completed a shock move back to Manchester United after leaving Juventus, missed a penalty but won the 2022 World Cup qualifier for his country with a dramatic late brace against the Republic of Ireland.
John Egan put the visitors 1-0 ahead on the stroke of half-time but Ronaldo equalised in the 89th minute with a header, moving clear of Ali Daei’s long-standing international goalscoring record in the process.
Iran legend Daei scored 109 goals in 149 appearances for his country but saw his remarkable record equalled by Ronaldo during Euro 2020 in June.
Daei praised Cristiano at the time, writing on Instagram: “I am honoured that this remarkable achievement will belong to Ronaldo - great champion of football and caring humanist who inspires and impacts lives throughout the world.”
Ronaldo then pulled two goals clear of Daei’s record with another headed goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
The Estadio Algarve erupted as Portugal’s talismanic captain inspired his national team to all three points at the death.
Ronaldo posts on Instagram after breaking Daei's record
Following his latest extraordinary achievement, Ronaldo wrote an emotional post on Instagram in which he reserved special praise for Daei.
“I can’t even start to express myself in words! I’m thrilled with an overwhelming sensation! Let’s go, Portugal! Let’s go!
“From all the records that I have broken during my career – and fortunately there have been a few – this one is very special for me and it’s certainly on the shelf of the achievements that make me truly proud.
“First of all, because every time I represent my country is a special moment, for knowing that I’m defending Portugal and showing to the world what Portuguese people are made of. Secondly, because National Teams competitions have always had a very strong impact in me as I was growing up, watching my idols playing for their flags every other Summer in Euros and in World Cups. But finally and above all, because scoring 111 goals for Portugal means 111 moments like the ones we experienced today in Algarve, moments of worldwide union and happiness for millions and millions of Portuguese citizens all around the Globe. For them, every sacrifice is worth it.
“Another reason for me to appreciate this achievement as much as I do right now, is because Ali Daei has set the standards in such a high level, that at some point even I started thinking that I might never catch him. Congratulations to the “Shariar” for holding the record for so long and thanks for always showing so much respect for me every time I scored and as I became closer and closer to his outstanding number.
“Thank you Portugal. Thanks to all my teammates and opponents for making this journey so unforgettable. Let’s keep meeting inside the pitch in the years to come! I’m not closing the count just yet…”
You can tell how much this means to him, and it’s great that he took the time to pay tribute to the man whose record he’s surpassed.
Despite his advancing years, you wouldn’t bet against Ronaldo adding a lot more goals between now and the day he calls time on his international career.
The man is a machine.
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