Cristiano Ronaldo was just 16 years old when he first experienced the taste of international football. He began his international career with Portugal at the 2001 European Youth Summer Olympic Festival, debuting in a 3–1 defeat to Finland. The following year he would represent his country under-17 side at the 2002 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship, where they failed to progress past the group stage.

Ronaldo also featured in the Olympic squad at the 2004 Summer Olympics, scoring one goal in the tournament, though the team was eliminated in the first round, finishing bottom of their group with three points after 4–2 defeats to eventual semi-finalists Iraq and quarter-finalists Costa Rica.

During his international youth career, Ronaldo would go on to represent the under-15 team, under-17, under-20, under-21, and under-23 national sides, amassing 34 youth caps and scoring 18 goals overall.

At age 18, Ronaldo made his first senior appearance for Portugal in a 1–0 victory over Kazakhstan on 20 August 2003.

He was subsequently called up for UEFA Euro 2004, held in his home country, and scored his first international goal in a 2–1 group stage loss to eventual champions Greece.

That was his first goal in international football at the senior level and after 16 years, the Portuguese has bagged 101 international goals.

For a while, he was hanging with 99 goals and after missing the match against Croatia in the UEFA Nations League, the opportunity came against Sweden at Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden. Cristiano has fond memories against Sweden and he loves dishing out brilliant displays against the Swedes.

Ronaldo reached the milestone just before half-time of Tuesday’s Nations League match against Sweden, slamming home a free-kick from outside the box to score the game’s first goal.

It wouldn’t take long for Ronaldo to reach his 101st goal as the forward netted a fine strike from outside the box in the 72nd minute, giving Portugal all they would need in a 2-0 win.

With his brace today, Ronaldo has scored 7 goals against Sweden. That’s tied for the most against a single opponent (with Lithuania).

This was Ronaldo’s 24th brace for Portugal. The man has more braces for his nation than any of the other members of the current 23-man Portugal squad have goals. Andre Silva is the next highest scorer, and he has 16.

Ronaldo is tied with France’s Michel Platini for the most goals at a UEFA European Championship (final tournament), with 9. The next closest is England’s Alan Shearer with 7. Ronaldo is, though, the only person to have scored at 4 different Euros.

It’s Cristiano Ronaldo again, again and again – and he does not know how to stop at the age, when others plan to retire and either hold a mike or start a coaching career.

Goals scored by Ronaldo before turning 30 – 52 in 118 at 0.44 a game.

Goals scored by Ronaldo after turning 30 – 49 in 47 at 1.04 a game!

Ronaldo has scored more goals as a 30-plus-year-old than Sergio Aguero has in his whole international career (41).

The 35-year-old is only the second men’s player to reach 100 goals for his country after Ali Daei, who scored 109 times for Iran.

Ronaldo’s goal was also the 57th of his career from a direct free-kick and the 10th for Portugal.

Ronaldo had to wait 10 months to overcome the final hurdle and reach the milestone, with his 99th international strike coming in November 2019 against Luxembourg. The forward had netted a hat-trick in the previous match against Lithuania to take his total to 98.

What’s perhaps most impressive about Ronaldo’s tally is that only 17 of his 101 goals have come in friendlies, though he has certainly beaten up on the European minnows along the way. Seven of his goals have come vs. Lithuania and Sweden, while he’s scored five apiece against Andorra, Armenia, Latvia, and Luxembourg.

Digging further into his century-mark of goals – Ronaldo has scored 9 hat tricks for Portugal. This is tied for the most international hat tricks by a European man – with Sweden’s Sven Rydell (who played between 1923-1932).

To put this in context – no one that took the field for Portugal against Sweden last night has scored more than a total of 7 international goals (Pepe).

He has netted 30 goals in World Cup qualifying and 31 in European Championship qualifying.

He’s delivered seven goals on the World Cup stage and another nine at the Euros in his career.

Ronaldo is the only European player to score in ten consecutive international tournaments (4 x Euros, 4 x World Cups, 1 x Confederations Cup, 1 x Nations League).

When Ronaldo scores, Portugal’s results are Win – 55, Loss – 6, Draw – 5!

Ronaldo is by far and away from the active leader in international goals in men’s soccer. India’s Sunil Chhetri (72) and Argentina’s Lionel Messi (70) are the next closest. On the women’s side, 17 players have hit the 100-goal mark, with seven of them Americans. Canada’s Christine Sinclair is the all-time leader with 186 goals, two more than USA’s retired forward Abby Wambach.

It is never an easy task to perform consistently for the club and country – very few have been able to do such and Cristiano Ronaldo is one of those legendary footballers, who is the winner both for the club and country.

No drama.

No excuses.

Cristiano Ronaldo only knows how to deliver the best for club and country.

 

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