Cristiano Ronaldo has promised there is, even more, to come from him after he established himself as international football’s record goalscorer.
The 36-year-old, who recently returned to Manchester United, saw his first-half spot-kick saved by Republic of Ireland’s teenage keeper Gavin Bazunu, but then secured Portugal a 2-1 World Cup qualifier victory with two last-gasp headers to take his tally to a remarkable 111.
In the process, he eclipsed the 109 goals scored by Iran’s Ali Daei, with whom he had been level before kick-off at the Estadio Algarve.
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Writing on his Instagram account, Ronaldo said: ‘From all the records that I have broken during my career – and fortunately there have been a few – this one is very special for me and it’s certainly on the shelf of the achievements that make me truly proud.
‘First of all, because every time I represent my country is a special moment, for knowing that I’m defending Portugal and showing to the world what Portuguese people are made of.
‘Secondly, because national teams competitions have always had a very strong impact on me as I was growing up, watching my idols playing for their flags every other summer in Euros and in World Cups.
‘But finally and above all, because scoring 111 goals for Portugal means 111 moments like the ones we experienced today in Algarve, moments of worldwide union and happiness for millions and millions of Portuguese citizens all around the globe. For them, every sacrifice is worth it.
‘Another reason for me to appreciate this achievement as much as I do right now, is because Ali Daei has set the standards in such a high level that at some point, even I started thinking that I might never catch him.
‘Congratulations to the ‘Shariar’ for holding the record for so long and thanks for always showing so much respect for me every time I scored and as I became closer and closer to his outstanding number.
‘Thank you Portugal. Thanks to all my teammates and opponents for making this journey so unforgettable. Let’s keep meeting inside the pitch in the years to come. I’m not closing the count just yet…’
Ronaldo’s late heroics spared Portugal the first home World Cup qualifier defeat since 2008 after Ireland turned in a hugely impressive display in Faro.