Cristiano Ronaldo scored his eighth hat-trick for Portugal on Tuesday night as the forward moved his remarkable international tally closer towards the all-time record.
Ronaldo netted four times in Portugal’s 5-1 demolition of Lithuania in their Euro 2020 qualifier – taking the 34-year-old marksman to 93 international goals overall.
He is edging ever-closer to a century of international goals and, knowing a man of his ambition, will also be gunning for the overall record of 109 held by the legendary Ali Daei of Iran.
Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 93 international goals 🤯🤯🤯— Goal (@goal) September 10, 2019
Getting closer to 🔝 spot 👑 pic.twitter.com/D4EcjjQJbf
Ronaldo is already second on the all-time list, having overtaken Hungarian great Ferenc Puskas at the World Cup in Russia last summer.
But he still has some way to go to match the incredible haul set by Iranian great Ali, who amassed 109 goals in 149 games for his country between 1993 and 2006.
Making his 160th appearance for Portugal, Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot after seven minutes in Vilnius, before the hosts grabbed a surprise equalizer.
The Portugal skipper restored his team’s lead on 61 minutes thanks to a howler from goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus, who helped the forward’s long-range shot into the net.
That sparked a Ronaldo goal-flurry as he tapped in from six yards on 65 minutes before adding his fourth with a steered finish 10 minutes later.
William Carvalho completed the rout in injury time as the win put European champions Portugal second in Group B, five points behind Ukraine but having played one game fewer.
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Unsurprisingly, Ronaldo was the star attraction in Vilnius as one fan burst onto the pitch in an apparent attempt to take a selfie with him before being led away by security.
Lithuania became the 40th country Ronaldo has scored against, as his four-goal haul meant he has bagged a remarkable 54 hat-tricks in his career for club and country.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored his eighth international hat-trick for Portugal, meaning he has now scored exactly a third of the hat-tricks in the country's history (8/24).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 10, 2019
CR7 at the treble again. ⚽️⚽️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/RrBZvtVmXJ
It was the 10th ‘poker’ of his career – and second for Portugal – although afterwards the man himself tweeted that he was happy to "contribute to another victory towards our goal."
Feliz por marcar o segundo poker ao serviço da Seleção e ter contribuído para mais uma vitória rumo ao nosso objetivo!💪🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/NYuFqVHunL— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) September 11, 2019