Cristiano Ronaldo's outrageous goal for Portugal that Nani ruined in 2010

  • Kobe Tong
Ronaldo in Portugal vs Spain.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time leading goalscorer in men’s international football.

Last year, the Manchester United star moved clear of previous record holder Ali Daei and now boasts a stunning number sheet of 117 strikes in 189 caps for Portugal.

However, the frustrating thing is that Ronaldo probably thinks he should actually be on 118 international goals because of an infamous moment against Spain back in 2010.

Portugal 4-0 Spain in 2010

Shortly after Las Rojas had won the World Cup for the very first time, defeating Portugal along the way in the round of 16, the two Iberian nations were reunited for an international friendly.

And boy did the Selecao exact their revenge in a big way as they secured a stunning 4-0 victory at the Estádio da Luz courtesy of strikes from Carlos Martins and Hugo Almeida as well as a Helder Postiga brace.

Bear in mind, too, that this was a Spain side with Xavi, David Silva, Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets in its starting XI.

However, despite the remarkable nature of the win, Ronaldo will no doubt have been frustrated not to get on the scoresheet himself having played 46 minutes in the Portuguese capital.

And that’s especially the case when you consider the circumstances under which he had a goal disallowed before he was brought off for Danny.

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When Nani ruined Ronaldo’s stunner

That’s because Ronaldo scored arguably the greatest goal of his entire career with a stunning solo run that saw him flatten Gerard Pique and sumptuously lob the ball over Iker Casillas’ head.

While you’d probably argue that his Portsmouth free-kick and Juventus bicycle kick were superior, there’s no denying that it would be right up there with Ronaldo’s finest ever strikes.

Only, it never could be and never will be because Nani decided to ruin matters with his overexcited reaction to the lob dipping towards the net, getting a touch on the ball as it crossed the line.

This led to the goal being ruled out for offside with Nani deemed to have inferred with the play, cuing one of the most apoplectic reactions that we’ve ever seen from Ronaldo on a football pitch.

So be sure to relive every painful second of that most infamous of moments in Ronaldo’s career down below:

Video: Ronaldo’s stunning goal for Portugal is ruined

Ouch. Imagine having a goal that good dropped on the scrapheap.

What did Nani and Ronaldo say about it?

Now, obviously, the question on everybody’s lips was: ‘what on earth was Nani thinking?’ and let’s just say that the story has changed a little bit between that November night and recent years.

According to the Guardian, Nani said at the time: “I touched the ball because I thought I wasn’t offside. Everything happened so quickly. After having time to think about it I apologised to Ronaldo. It was a great piece of play and I shouldn’t have ruined it.”

Meanwhile, Ronaldo is quoted as fuming to Marca: “I don’t understand, even a blind man could see it was a goal. The ball was half a metre into the net.

“I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not but my best goals with the national team are being disallowed. I remember an overhead kick in the Bessa stadium which wasn’t given.”

Portugal's Ronaldo fumes.
LISBON, PORTUGAL – NOVEMBER 17: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal throws his captain’s arm band away after his goal was disallowed during the International Friendly match between Portugal and Spain at the Estadio da Luz on November 17, 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

But since then, it seems as though Nani has concluded that he wasn’t offside, telling the UTD Podcast in 2020: “Everyone took it wrong, he [Ronaldo] was angry with the referee because the ball was already in and they made a bad decision.

“Imagine if the ball was not in and then I took it before. I was not offside, if you see that video.

“But obviously I had no intention to take the goal from him. I told him “Sorry” in that moment because it was a beautiful goal.

“And for me that goal still exists, you just need to cut out the part where I touched the ball!

“But thank God he doesn’t need that goal to be who he is and he has so many goals to choose and still enjoy his career, and the fans as well.”

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

It’s difficult to tell from the footage whether or not Nani does indeed stray beyond the sprawled-out Pique and into an offside position, but his influence nevertheless meant that the goal was ruled out either rightly or wrongly.

And therefore, poor Nani will always know that he accidentally robbed Ronaldo of one of the greatest goals of his life.

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