Home >Lounge >Features >Decoding Cristiano Ronaldo’s 101 international goals for Portugal
Cristiano scored two goals against Sweden to become only the second man to score 100 international goals. (Photo: TT News Agency/ Janerik Henriksson via REUTERS) (via REUTERS)
Cristiano scored two goals against Sweden to become only the second man to score 100 international goals. (Photo: TT News Agency/ Janerik Henriksson via REUTERS) (via REUTERS)

Decoding Cristiano Ronaldo’s 101 international goals for Portugal

The 35-year-old is now only the second men's player in history to reach a century of goals in international football. Lounge breaks down some key figures

At an age when many footballers have either retired or started contemplating the end of their careers, the records still keep tumbling for Portugal and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo. On 8 September, the Portuguese captain scored goal number 100 and 101 of his international career during a 2-0 win over Sweden in the UEFA Nations League. It had been a long time coming: the forward was stuck at 99 goals since November 2019. After his outing against Sweden, Ronaldo is now just 8 goals behind Iran’s Ali Daei, who holds the record for the most number of international goals with 109 strikes.

It would be difficult to bet against Ronaldo, given that he not only has the remainder of the Nations League but also the 2022 World Cup in Qatar ahead of him to match and then surpass Daei’s record. Having made his debut in 2003, Ronaldo has established himself as one one of the greatest club and international footballers of all time. We break down his impressive tally for the Portugal national team to look at some interesting numbers.

7: The Sweden national team must now be sick at the sight of Portugal’s captain simply because he loves scoring against them. He has now scored 7 times against the Swedes, including the two on 8 September. Same for Lithuania — who have been at the receiving end of Ronaldo’s goal-scoring exploits 7 times. Interestingly though, Ronaldo hasn’t scored a single goal against European heavyweights England, Italy, France and Germany so far.

10: There is hardly a better striker of the football than Ronaldo, who can be prolific from set-piece situations. He possesses an entirely unique way of striking the dead ball that many others have tried to replicate and failed. His century of international goals consists of 10 direct free kicks — like the one he scored against Sweden recently and that memorable strike against Spain in the 2018 World Cup.

19: The Portuguese superstar was just 19 years old when he scored his first international goal — a 93rd minute header against Greece in the opening game at Euro 2004. Assisted by Luis Figo, it was the old guard passing on the mantle to new blood. Even though Portugal lost that day, the fans got an early feeler of a scrawny teenager who would go on to dominate world football.

24: In footballing parlance, you score a "perfect" hat-trick when you score with your left foot, right foot and a header. In that sense, Ronaldo is what you could call the perfect goalscorer. Of his 101 goals so far, 24 have been headers — he is deadly in the air and has an impressive leap for a player who started out as a winger and now plays as a dedicated striker. 55 of his goals have been with his right foot, while he has bagged 22 of them with his left — a genuinely two-footed player.

48: Before he turned 30, Ronaldo scored 52 of his international goals in 118 games. But in a phase when many players begin to fade or slow down, Ronaldo has peaked and shown an incredible goals per game ratio. He has scored 48 times in just 47 games for Portugal since turning 30 — a real testament to his incredible fitness levels and hunger for goals.

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