When Portugal took on Lithuania in the World Cup qualifiers, many were expecting a thrashing. The only question was, how easily would Portugal dominate the match, the short answer was that it was a massacre. Skipper Cristiano Ronaldo was at his sublime best as he banged in four goals
In the process, he helped secure a 5-1 romping win for Portugal, and they are currently 2nd in Group B. With 25 goals, he is now the all-time leading goalscorer in European Championship qualifiers.
“This is the clear and irrevocable proof that he is the best player in the world,” a proud Portugal coach Fernando Santos claimed post-match.
In the process, he also netted his eighth international hat-trick and increased his international tally to 93. The Juventus superstar is only 16 goals away from Ali Daei’s all-time record of 109 goals.
Against Lithuania on Tuesday, the 34-year-old proved that age has practically no effect on him. The goalfest kicked off, courtesy a seventh-minute penalty, followed by a goalkeeping blunder worthy of Loris Karius. The Portuguese superstar then finished off in style, with a curling effort and a tap-in.
Most of the current football stars, usually turn up for their club and rarely continue that form internationally. However, Cristiano Ronaldo debunked that myth for the last four years alone. As if 33 goals for Portugal was not enough proof that even a club star can turn up for their country.
Speaking after his sublime performance against Lithuania, Ronaldo affirmed that playing for Portugal remains one of his top priorities.
“I’m having a good time, but the team was doing very well too,” Ronaldo told reporters.
“I am happy and enjoying this moment, not because I scored the goals, but because of the level we have been able to demonstrate in recent years.
“It is up to me to continue helping the national team.”
The 34-year-old also revealed that his thoughts are light years away from retirement. In fact, he believes that he can play well into his forties.
“I don’t think about that. Maybe I can leave my career next year…but I can also play up to 40 or 41,” Ronaldo admitted to TVI.
“What I always say is to enjoy the moment. The gift is excellent and I have to continue to enjoy it.”
“Are there any football players who have more records than me?” he asked. “I don’t think there are any footballers who have more records than me.”
Lithuania was the 40th different country that Cristiano Ronaldo has netted against. This performance has only helped cement his status as the greatest ever goalscorer. He also holds the record for the most international goals, among active players, miles ahead of India’s Sunil Chhetri and Argentine star Lionel Messi respectively.
“He continues to register amazing numbers and I don’t have any doubts that he will continue doing that,” Santos said.
“I have already said so many times that the team who has Cristiano Ronaldo, whatever team it is, needs to have the right conditions for him to do what he does best – which is score goals.”