Cristiano Ronaldo has moved inches closer to a historic milestone with a hat-trick in the Euro 2020 Qualifying match against Lithuania on Thursday. The Portugal forward led his side to a 6-0 thumping, as he registered his 55th hat-trick, 9th for Portugal, to help his side reach within one win of a place at Euro 2020. Doing so, he also went on to take his total international goals tally to 98.
When Portugal take on Luxembourg on Sunday, Ronaldo need to score just two more goals to become only the 2nd player in history to reach 100 international goals, only after Iran’s legend Ali Daei. At the moment, Ronaldo is just 11 goals short of Daei’s world record of 109 international goals.
Ronaldo was substituted in the previous two matches for Juventus by manager Maurizio Sarri, who has claimed that the forward is undergoing a knee injury. But the forward received a backing from his Portugal boss Fernando Santos, who spoke to reporters after the match and said: “I never had any doubts about his condition, it was other people who had them. Nothing surprises me about Cristiano.”
“I knew he (Ronaldo) was able to play,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos told Portuguese TV channel RTP. “His match put an end to the doubts about his physical condition, for those who had doubts. I personally had none, and I said that.”
In the match, Ronaldo converted a penalty in the 7th minute to get his first goal. In the and later curled another one into the back of the net in the 22nd minute. Ronaldo completed his hat trick in the 65th minute with a simple finish.
Portugal sit second in the standings behind Ukraine, who have already qualified, and one point clear of Serbia, but can secure their spot at next year’s finals with victory in Luxembourg on Sunday.
(With inputs from AFP)