The last hours of Matchday one in the Euros ended in style with late winners and record-breaking goals taking precedence. Cristiano Ronaldo broke the first record of the night when he set foot in the Puskas arena, in front of the largest crowd so far in the competition. He became the first player in the competition’s history to take part in five editions. His first appearance came in 2004 when Portugal hosted the tournament. Ronaldo also overtook Platini as the all time top scorer at the Euros surpassing the Frenchmen’s tally of 9.
⏰ RESULT ⏰
🔥 Cristiano Ronaldo becomes all-time EURO top scorer
🇵🇹 Ronaldo nets twice in Portugal win; Guerreiro also on target
Who did it best? 🤔#EURO2020
— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) June 15, 2021
The legendary Portuguese forward missed an open chance in the dying minutes of the first half. Portugal was poor in possession and lacked a cutting edge. As the eightieth-minute mark approached, the game looked sombre. The scoreline level, with neither team packing any action. Hungary defended for the entirety of the match and Portugal had a tough time breaking through.
JUST ANOTHER RECORD
However, a lucky break in the 84th minute gave them the goal they needed, and thus opened up the game. Just minutes later, Portugal was awarded a penalty, a chance to seal the three points. There was no doubt on who was going to take it. The master of the art, Portugal’s living legend, Ronaldo slotted in a powerful shot, sending the keeper the wrong way. For he, in front of all those fans in Budapest, broke Michel Platini’s record of nine goals in the European Championships.
Cristiano Ronaldo 🤩
⚽️ All-time EURO top scorer (11 goals)
🇵🇹 All-time top scorer for Portugal (106 goals)
👕 First player to appear at 5 EURO final tournaments
👏 First player to score at 5 consecutive EURO final tournaments #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/rjJ7C5iXo1
— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) June 15, 2021
It was the twenty-second appearance of the player in the competition. The 36-year-old proved why he was still one of the best players in World football, securing the win for his nation. The most celebrated No.7 in the history of the game did not stop there.
He added one more to his repertoire deep into injury time. A beautiful give and go with Rafa Silva opened up space in the box for the Serie A top scorer. A deft shimmy floored the keeper, and Ronaldo simply went around him to tap into an empty net. A brilliant goal by one of the oldest players on the pitch.
ALL-TIME TOP SCORER
With eleven goals in the competition, Ronaldo has left other prominent names like Rooney and Henry far behind. The closest active player that can challenge Ronaldo to be the top striker in the Euros is Antoine Griezmann. The French attacker has six goals to his name, with far fewer appearances than the great man. However, considering the form Ronaldo is in, he will likely extend his lead to ensure he remains at the top for a long long time.
Only one player in football history has scored 11 goals at the European Championships:
🇵🇹 Cristiano Ronaldo (11)
🇫🇷 Michel Platini (9)
🏴 Alan Shearer (7)
Just ANOTHER record for CR7. 😤 pic.twitter.com/Ia1x5oRp2L
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) June 15, 2021
With the European record under his belt, Ronaldo’s next ambition would be to beat the record set by Iran’s Ali Daei. The Iranian striker has the greatest number of goals in international football with 109 goals in 149 appearances. The player accumulated the record in thirteen years and was the first person to break the 100-goal mark.
Cristiano Ronaldo is just three goals shy of breaking the record set by Daei. At thirty-six years of age, the Portuguese forward is still the country’s most prolific scorer. Considering the form he is in, three more goals might not be too much of an ask.
CAN RONALDO DO IT?
The former Real Madrid and Manchester United star is the only other player besides Daei to reach the 100-goal milestone. A remarkable achievement that rightfully points to the dedication and work ethic of the Juventus forward. Just like wine, Ronaldo’s goal-scoring prowess seems to be getting better with age, with 50 of his international goals coming in the last five years. If there is any man on the planet that can break the record, it’s Ronaldo.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players not only of his time but of all time,” Daei told Tuttomercato in November 2020. “He is an absolute phenomenon. I would congratulate him directly [on breaking his record], but first, he has to get there.”
Ali Daei also believes that his record will be broken and he is looking forward to congratulating Ronaldo when he does it. Ronaldo has not scored against Germany and France in any of their meetings so far and this would be the right time to open an account. If Portugal does face off against England, the former Premier League player will want to score against them too, another feat he hasn’t achieved so far.
“I managed to beat this milestone of 100 goals, and now [I’ll aim to go] for the record,” Ronaldo said in September 2020. “It’s step by step. I am not obsessed because I believe the records come in a natural way.”
With just three more goals to go, will Ronaldo turn this Euros into a breeding ground for his unrivalled records? Is this another record he can add to his illustrious career?