The year was 2003 when up-and-coming football promise Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) was described as “one of the most exciting young players I’d ever seen” by Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Soon after, he became United’s first Portuguese recruit.
Today, he’s the top-scorer player in the world.
The Portuguese football player has broken the record for most goals scored in international soccer matches (male) during the Portugal vs Ireland match played on 1 September 2021 at the Algarve Stadium (Portugal).
Previously, Ronaldo shared the record with Ali Daei (Iran), who scored 109 goals between 1993 and 2006. Against Ireland, a few minutes before the end of the match, Ronaldo broke his own record with the striking number of 111 goals.
Daei was captain of the Iran national football team and started coaching in 2006. He’s now a football manager, with Saipa being his most recent club, which he led from 2017 to mid-2019. Although Cristiano Ronaldo equalled Daei’s number between 2003 and 2021, the Portuguese striker finally topped it after getting the ball in the back of the net for the 111th time in the game against Ireland.
This is far from Ronaldo’s first time lifting the silverware (or a Guinness World Records certificate!), though.
With 134 goals, the striker also holds the title for most Champions League goals, as well as most goals in aUEFA Champions League season by an individual (17) and most goals scored in the football (soccer) UEFA European Championships including qualifying matches (23).
He is also the highest-rated player in FIFA 18, with an overall rate of 99% – 1% ahead of Lionel Messi and Pelé, both runners-up at 98%.
A top-scorer, athlete, celebrity and social media sensation, Ronaldo is not new to being a champion even when he’s not taking the pitch.
He holds the record for most followers for an athlete on Twitter, as well as most followers on Instagram for an athlete. His Instagram account, @Cristiano, is also the overall most followed account on Instagram, beating Selena Gomez’s 120,135,089 followers in 2017.
As a legend of international football, Ronaldo’s Wikipedia page has had 112,000,000 views, the most viewed Wikipedia page for an athlete (male).
Furthermore, as of April 2021, he received the most likes for an athlete on Facebook, with a remarkable number of 124,726,150 thumbs up.
Ronaldo’s career started with Sporting CP when he was only 12. He never lost the ball since, becoming Portugal’s all-time top goalscorer.
After he was promoted from Sporting CP’s youth team, he subsequently became the first player to play for all the club’s younger teams (under-16, under-17 and under-18). In the same year, he soared to the B team and then the first team, ending up winning the Supercup for Sporting Lisbon – all within his first season. After his transfer to Manchester United, at 23, he won his first Ballon d’Or.
Goal after goal, Ronaldo has won over the hearts of football fans regardless of teams and matches, winning with Portugal the UEFA European Championship 2016 against France and UEFA Nations League 2019. For the latter, Ronaldo raised the Alipay Top Scorer Trophy.
A series of triumphs that secured his position in the Olympus of Sports.
He became the only footballer to earn over $1 billion in their career and confirmed himself as one of the most sought-after, acclaimed, and successful athletes of all time. In 2018, Ronaldo moved to Juventus, the Turin-based club that has seen a steady rise after Ronaldo – quite literally – entered the field.
Currently, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner found himself yet again under the spotlight after his decision to leave Allegri’s club for his (much whispered) return to United, after originally signing with the club in 2003.
After this transfer, accompanied by a heartfelt message addressed to his former club and Juventus’ fans, the immediate future of the thirty-six-year-old, record-breaking athlete remains guesswork.
What is certain, however, is that Cristiano Ronaldo made history at the Algarve Stadium. His latest accolade has further cemented him as one of the greatest footballers in history.
After becoming just the second men’s player to score more than 100 international goals, Cristiano Ronaldo has now toppled Ali Daei’s international record of 109. Daei had held the mantle of most international goals since 2003, when he surpassed Ferenc Puskas’s record of 84.
The Portugal and Manchester United forward broke the men’s record — Christine Sinclair tops the women’s charts with 187 goals in 304 games for Canada — against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday with a pair of headers, 17 years after he scored his first international goal at Euro 2004.
Daei’s 109th and final international goal came against Costa Rica in a friendly on March 1, 2006, with the then 36-year-old scoring the second in a game that finished 3-2 to Iran. On the same day, a 21-year-old Ronaldo scored his 10th and 11th for his nation in a 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia. The first, a now-classic header from a corner taken by Luis Figo, the second a left-footed strike into the bottom right, assisted by a through-ball from Hugo Viana.
One hundred and eleven goals is a number worth celebrating, analysing and digesting.
Here, The Athletic takes a look at the stories behind the 111, including how they were scored, who they were scored against, and who they were assisted by, and also looking at which players might have Ronaldo’s record in their sights…
When were the goals scored?
Ronaldo has been a more prolific second-half goalscorer than in first halves, scoring 23 more goals after his half-time cuppa. The bulk of his goals have come between the 76th and 85th minutes of matches, with 19 coming in that period.
Cristiano Ronaldo went from GOAT to goat back to GOAT for Portugal, making history and amends for an infamous first 88 minutes of a 2-1 defeat of visiting Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.
Ronaldo’s 88th-minute goal scored his 110th international goal, breaking a tie with Iranian striker Ali Daei for most in a men’s national team shirt. He’d score No. 111 in the sixth minute of five minutes stoppage, removing his shirt and pointing his No. 7 jersey to the adoring crowd.
The World Cup qualifier earlier saw Gavin Bazunu save a Ronaldo penalty and John Egan zip in front of Ronaldo to score a late first-half opener.
It would’ve been a day to forget for Ronaldo, especially had he have been sent off for taking a swing at Dara O’Shea after the Irish backheeled Ronaldo’s set dead ball off the penalty spot.
Bazunu, the 19-year-old Manchester City loanee to Portsmouth, made four saves including the penalty while Egan’s header was Ireland’s only shot on target.
The win would’ve been nice for the Irish, who had lost their first two qualifiers, but instead leaves them a point above pointless Azerbaijan.
The Portuguese have 10 points and lead the group with a 3W-0L-1D record but have also played the most matches in the group. Serbia has seven points and Luxembourg six.
But Ronaldo snapped two headers past Bazunu in the match’s final seven minutes.