On Thursday, Cristiano Ronaldo made his 197th appearance for Portugal, becoming the most-capped men’s international player of all time. The 38-year-old equaled Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa with 196 caps in his last World Cup encounter vs Morocco.
During the tournament in Qatar, there was a lot of concern over Ronaldo’s international future. But irrespective of all the criticism he was named to Roberto Martinez’s first-team squad.
Ronaldo started against Liechtenstein on Thursday, as Portugal won 4-0 in Lisbon to kick off their Euro 2024 qualification campaign.
Because of his inclusion in the starting lineup, the forward became the most-capped men’s international player of all time, with 197 caps, and he scored twice against Rene Pauritsch’s team.
Joao Cancelo put Portugal ahead in the eighth minute, and Bernardo Silva extended the advantage in the early parts of the second stanza.
Ronaldo then scored twice in Lisbon, first from the penalty spot in the 51st minute and then with a free kick in the 63rd minute of the Group J match.
The striker now has 120 international goals, 11 more than second-placed Ali Daei, and Lionel Messi is third on the list with 99.
Another record broken by Ronaldo for Portugal
Ronaldo has also become the first player in history to achieve 100 competitive international goals, and he has now scored for Portugal in 20 consecutive years.
Ronaldo stated prior of the match against Liechtenstein that “records are his motivation.”
“Records are my motivation. Being the most capped player in history – I have to confess that it is something that leaves me quite proud,”
he told reporters.
“In addition to being the best scorer ever for the national teams, I would also like to be the most international capped player. But not only tomorrow (Thursday), I would like to have a lot of matches in the future.”
Meanwhile, new Portugal boss Martinez said:
“I look for commitment. And Ronaldo has huge commitment to the national team, is a major figure for it, and has experience he can pass on.”
Ronaldo’s contract with Manchester United was terminated near the end of last year after an explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he was severely critical of the club.
The forward is now playing for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, where he has nine goals and two assists in his first ten matches.
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