Having been in the headlines for his reaction to being substituted in Juventus’ recent match against AC Milan, Ronaldo responded in the perfect manner by putting Lithuania to the sword in clinical fashion.
It was his ninth international hat-trick since making his debut for Portugal. His 99 goals have come in 164 games with sixty coming in qualifying matches, seventeen in friendlies, nine at European Championships, seven at World Cups, two in the Confederations Cup and three in the Nations League. CR7 now has his sights set on Ali Daei’s (Iran) international goal-scoring record of 109 goals in 149 appearances, another first for the 34 year-old Madeira born goal machine as he becomes the first European player to have scored fifty goals more for his country than any of his compatriots. His ninety-nine, since his debut in 2003, is fifty-two more than second-place Pauleta managed between 1997 and 2006. Next on the all time list is Ireland’s Robbie Keane (68) with fifty-seven more goals than Niall Quinn (21).
Ronaldo will now have to wait until the next round of international matches in late March next year before he can hit the century mark. But before then all eyes will be on the Euro2020 finals draw in Bucharest on 30 November. Portugal finished second in Group B and will be Pot 3 and there is a real possibility that they could end up in a potential ‘group of death’ along with England and France.
Ronaldo will be playing in his fifth European Championship finals and it will be eleventh consecutive international tournament that Portugal has qualified for.