YOU cannot beat sheer class. He’s simply hailed as a “phenomenon”.
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, even without a club, hit the headlines as the first footballer to score in five World Cup tournaments.
Certainly more to come but he makes goal-scoring look so very easy as he netted from the penalty spot in Portugal’s 3-2 victory over Ghana at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.
Mind you, he is 37 and probably in his last World Cup Finals. The landmark comes just days after he had his contract terminated by his club team, Manchester United, following a controversial interview in which he attacked the club, its manager, and its owners.
CREDIT TO TEAM
He laughed off his latest success by saying: “The first player to score goals at five World Cups, this makes me very proud…but credit must go to the team and we hope to continue with the winning streak.”
In almost every touch, he’s super class and Portugal boss Fernando Santo said of Ronaldo: “One of the best players in the world, one of the best players ever. In my books, he is a phenomenon, a legend like many who have come and gone before. In 50 years’ time, we will continue to speak about him.”
Including World Cups and European Championships, Ronaldo has now scored at 10 consecutive major tournaments. His penalty against Ghana this week saw him become Portugal’s oldest World Cup scorer ever, while he’s also his country’s youngest ever World Cup scorer, having scored his first goal at the tournament in 2006, at the age of 21.
Looking back, in September 2021, he also became the top scorer in international soccer history, after netting a brace against the Republic of Ireland. Those two goals took his total to 111 – moving him two ahead of Iran’s Ali Daei in the record books.
More from this mega-star? Ronaldo also surpassed Sergio Ramos’ record for the most international appearances by a European player last year, and became the first player to score 10 hat-tricks in men’s international football, after scoring three in a 5-0 win against Luxembourg.
Biggest salutes to Ronaldo…you just cannot beat sheer goal-scoring class.
* Suresh Nair is an award-winning sports journalist who is also a qualified international coach and international referee instructor