Ronaldo: I'm not closing the count just yet!
Manchester United's new signing Cristiano Ronaldo says breaking the men’s international goals record is one of his proudest achievements yet.
The 36-year-old went into Portugal's game against Republic of Ireland in Faro as the joint record-holder with Iran's Ali Daei, on 109, but he pulled clear by heading home an 89th-minute equalier.
A man who doesn’t do things by half measures, he then popped up in the final seconds of injury time to make it 111 strikes in total and give Portugal the win that sends them top of their World Cup qualifying group.
Posting on Instagram, Ronaldo expressed to his 300 million plus followers just how much the feat meant to him after 18 years - half a lifetime - of playing with the Selecao.
He also took the time to recognise Daei, a legendary striker who set what was long viewed as an unreachable target before retiring in 2006. Tantalisingly, Ronaldo concluded that his international level isn't over yet.
Here’s what he posted: “I can’t even start to express myself in words! I’m thrilled with an overwhelming sensation! Let’s go, Portugal! Let’s go!
“From all the records that I have broken during my career – and fortunately there have been a few – this one is very special for me and it’s certainly on the shelf of the achievements that make me truly proud.
“First of all, because every time I represent my country is a special moment, for knowing that I’m defending Portugal and showing to the world what Portuguese people are made of.
“Secondly, because national teams competitions have always had a very strong impact in me as I was growing up, watching my idols playing for their flags every other summer in Euros and in World Cups.
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"But finally and above all, because scoring 111 goals for Portugal means 111 moments like the ones we experienced today in Algarve, moments of worldwide union and happiness for millions and millions of Portuguese citizens all around the globe. For them, every sacrifice is worth it.
“Another reason for me to appreciate this achievement as much as I do right now, is because Ali Daei has set the standards in such a high level, that at some point even I started thinking that I might never catch him. Congratulations to the “Shariar” for holding the record for so long and thanks for always showing so much respect for me every time I scored and as I became closer and closer to his outstanding number.
“Thank you Portugal. Thanks to all my team-mates and opponents for making this journey so unforgettable. Let’s keep meeting inside the pitch in the years to come! I’m not closing the count just yet…”