Portuguese sensation Cristiano Ronaldo is the modern-day GOAT of football, as he continues to assert his dominance, not just in club football, but also at the international level.
He presented a fine example once again as he scored a hat-trick against Lithuania during their UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers on Thursday, while Portugal edged closer to secure qualification for the tournament.
Here is more.
How did the match pan out?
As for the match, it was entirely one-sided, as the hosts dominated right since the opening whistle, at the Estadio Algarve in Almancil, Portugal.
It took seven minutes for Ronnie to score the opener and followed it up with another in the 22nd.
His 60th-minute winner saw him complete the hat-trick, while Pizzi, Goncalo Paciencia and Bernardo Silva, too, featured in the scorer's list.
Do you know?
Ronaldo has scored 46 in 45 since turning 30
Following the hat-trick, Ronaldo asserted his dominance in international football even further, as he has now scored 46 goals in 45 matches, since his 30th birthday. Showing no signs of slowing down, his tally is certain to soar up in coming matches.
Ronaldo 11 goals away from becoming all-time great
With the hat-trick against Lithuania, Ronaldo has narrowed down his gap from the all-time highest international goal-scorer. He is now just 11 goals shy of Iran's Ali Daei, who holds the record for the same, while Ronnie looks almost certain to go past it.
Ronaldo's strike does not surprise coach Fernando Santos
While Ronnie was sensational against Lithuania, the national coach, Fernando Santos, was hardly surprised by his performance, despite the former being substituted at Juventus, last weekend, following a bruised knee.
"He's fine. I had no doubt about that, as I said before the match. Other people did, but I didn't have any doubts," he said following the match.
Ronaldo drew attention after leaving stadium early following Juventus substitution
While Ronaldo was substituted last weekend, he drew attention after he had left the venue early.
Furthermore, reports said that Ronaldo seemed unhappy following his substitution, despite it being attributed to a bruised knee.
"I have no problem with Cristiano, he should be thanked because he made himself available despite not being in the best condition," said Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri.
Ronaldo international record
Some records held by Ronaldo in international football
Following are some records held by Ronnie in international football:
- He has scored the most international goals scored in a calendar year: 32 (2017).
- He has scored in the most FIFA World Cups: 4.
- Oldest player to score a FIFA World Cup hat-trick: 33 years, 130 days.
- He is the first player to score in ten consecutive international tournaments.