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25th Mar 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo sets yet another unbelievable record for Portugal

Rory Fleming

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal record

The iconic forward’s list of achievements just keeps on growing.

Cristiano Ronaldo became the most-capped men’s international player of all time on Thursday night, as he made his 197th senior appearance for Portugal at the José Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon.

Defeating minnows Liechtenstein 4-0 on the night, Portugal’s legendary number seven scored a second half brace as his side began life under former Everton and Belgium boss Roberto Martinez with a win.

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal recordThe 38-year-old celebrates scoring his 120th international goal. (Credit: Getty Images)

In making his record-breaking 197th international appearance in Portugal’s maiden Euro 2024 qualifying fixture, the 38-year-old attacker surpassed the previous record held by Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa.

With just over 600 players having become centurions in the international game, Ronaldo will now set his sights firmly on becoming international football’s first double-centurion, a feat he will no doubt achieve being just three games shy at present.

After scoring just once at last winter’s World Cup in Qatar, coupled with his infamous exit from Manchester United, many pundits and fans harboured doubts over whether or not the five-time Ballon d’Or winner would return to the international game.

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal recordA dejected Ronaldo falls to the ground in dismay as Morocco dump Portugal out of the World Cup. (Credit: Getty Images)

Nevertheless, ever-hungry to further cement his legacy as one of the game’s best, Ronaldo seemingly couldn’t bow out of the international arena off the back of arch-rival Leo Messi’s World Cup win.

Named as the captain in Roberto Martinez’s first Portugal starting XI, the five-time Champions League winner proved he is still more than capable at this level, with a coolly despatched penalty followed by a trademark free kick just 12 minutes later.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid player also had a possible hat trick denied, when in the 63rd minute his close range effort was flagged for offside.

Now plying his trade in the Saudi Arabian Premier League with Al-Nassr, Ronaldo has scored 9 goals in 8 league appearances, as he bids to maintain the already impressive longevity of his career in the Middle East.

International football had been the one distinguishing factor in the ‘greatest of all time’ debate between Ronaldo and Messi for many years, with the Portuguese superstar guiding his nation to Euro 2016 and UEFA Nations League successes.

However, following Argentina’s capturing of both the Copa America and World Cup over the last three seasons, many now place the PSG forward above Ronaldo, a fact which is surely driving this final quest for international glory at the Euros in Germany next summer.

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