LISBON: Cristiano Ronaldo is now the leading international scorer in football history after his equaliser for Portugal against Republic of Ireland took him past Iran’s Ali Daei.
A day after officially completing his dream return to Manchester United from Juventus, the legendary 36-year-old reached yet another historic milestone – his 110th international goal with a late equaliser against the Republic of Ireland – on his 180 appearance during a World Cup qualifier at Estádio Algarve.
It overtakes Daei’s tally of 109, the previous record-holder since 2004.
To top it off, he then nodded in the winner with the last touch of the game to move on to 111 goals, giving him a healthy two-goal lead at the top of the outright table – and Portugal three precious points.
Ronaldo, who scored his first international goal as a 19-year-old back at Euro 2004 following his maiden season at Old Trafford, is 35 ahead of his closest active challengers at the top of the charts – his all-time rival Lionel Messi (76 goals from 151 games) and the much lesser known UAE striker Ali Mabkhout (76 goals in 92 games).
Ronaldo is only the fifth player in history to earn the accolade of being the leading scorer at this level since the 50-goal barrier was first broken by Hungary’s Imre Schlosser way back in 1917, with the other record holders being Ferenc Puskas (1953-1980), Mokhtar Dahari (1980-2004) and Daei (2004-2021).
The Portugal captain’s latest achievement in a remarkable career comes just two months after being five-goal top scorer at Euro 2020 – a campaign which saw him surpass Michel Platini as the all-time European Championship scorer with 14 goals.
Ronaldo, who has scored in a record five successive European Championships since his debut in 2004 and nine consecutive major tournaments having struck in each of his four World Cups, has also scored more goals than anyone else in both major tournaments combined with 21.
The previous record holder was Miroslav Klose with 19, including 16 at World Cups.
Ronaldo boasts a superior ratio of 0.61 goals per game compared with old rival Lionel Messi’s 0.5, but he also has guided his nation to a pair of trophies – Euro 2016 and the inaugural Nations League in 2018.
For club and country overall, Ronaldo has scored most career goals with 784 from 1075 games since 2002 compared with Messi’s 748 (930 games since 2004) which means they are just two of seven men to have broken the 700-goal barrier alongside Josef Bican (805 from 530+), Romario (772 from 994), Pele (767 from 831), Ferenc Puskas (746 from 754) and Gerd Muller (734 from 793).
Pele’s official competitive tally of 767 in 831 games is some way below his Guinness World Record mark of 1,281 in 1,363 matches which includes many friendlies for Santos while Bican’s tally is often disputed due to lack of reliable records from the period in his career that was interrupted by World War II.
Although Ronaldo’s goals per game ratio at international level is superior to Messi (0.61 v 0.5), it has not been enough to bridge the gap in their overall careers, with the former Barcelona star’s 0.86 at club level over 778 games brings his up 0.80, with his counterpart back on 0.73 (0.75 club).
The Portugal captain has 24 club titles, including a record five Champions Leagues, three Premier Leagues, a pair of La Ligas and two Serie A crowns. You can see a full list of career stats and achievements further down.
Ronaldo’s international goals record: