Twenty-four hours after Manchester United unveiled him as their newest player, Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated in style. He scored twice for Portugal in the 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland to reach 111 goals in international football. Ronaldo has now scored two goals more than legendary Iranian striker Ali Daei, the former record-holder (109).
Portugal was awarded a penalty after a long VAR check in the first half. Ronaldo missed in front of 19-year-old Gavin Bazunu.
The Irish team scored first just before the break. John Egan netted after a corner from debutant Jamie McGrath. Ronaldo and Portugal had to wait until late in the game to get their reward. Ronaldo’s first goal came after 89 minutes following a cross from Guedes, The ball found him well placed in the opposite box and Cristiano didn’t miss the target.
Bazunu, who plays in the English third tier for Portsmouth, made a few amazing saves to deny Portugal throughout the game. The youngster couldn’t stop another Ronaldo header, however, in the dying moments of the match. CR7 squeezed the ball into the net just seconds before the final whistle. Portugal won the game in the sixth minute of extra time.
Ronaldo celebrated the record-breaking goal by taking off his shirt. He went into the ref’s book and will now miss the game against Azerbaijan next week.
Portugal leads Group A of the European Qualifiers after winning 10 points in their first four games. Serbia is second with seven points from three games, with Luxembourg third with six points in three matches. The winners in each of the 10 groups qualify directly to the World Cup in 2022, while the second-place teams go to the playoffs, hoping for a second chance.
🐐 Surpreender o planeta, inspirar a pátria, 𝙈𝘼𝙍𝘾𝘼𝙍 𝘼 𝙃𝙄𝙎𝙏Ó𝙍𝙄𝘼!
— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) September 1, 2021
Ronaldo and Portugal, a wonderful adventure
Now 36, Ronaldo made his debut for the national team in 2003, when he was just 18 years old. His first appearance for Portugal came in a 1-0 win against Kazakhstan. The forward came on as a substitute for Luis Figo at half-time in the game. Ronaldo’s first major international tournament was Euro 2004, which his country hosted. He netted for the first time under Portugal’s colors in the match against Greece at those Euros. Portugal lost 2-1 in the group stage, but went on to play the final, losing against the same opponent.
Ronaldo captained Portugal for the first time on Feb. 6, 2007, a day after turning 22. To date, he played 180 games for Portugal. His major triumph with the national team came in 2016 when he won the Euros in France.
Ronaldo played in four World Cups and five Euros for Portugal. In his last 47 games for his national side, Ronaldo netted 49 times.