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If it’s one thing that Cristiano Ronaldo loves, it is being the best.
In club competition, he has locked horns with Lionel Messi on multiple occasions and lost out on a few Ballon d’Ors, with the Argentine boasting six to Ronaldo’s five.
At international level, however, Europe remains at his mercy and no one can stop him there, not even Messi.
No one could have quite envisaged the impact Ronaldo would have had when he joined Real Madrid in an £80million move from Manchester United in 2009.
Back then, that sum of money was worthy of a world record fee. The Portuguese was undoubtedly one of the world’s most marketable stars and on the back of a 42-goal season with the Red Devils, his ability to score goals was undeniable.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 103 goals for Portugal, the most by any player from a European nation
(Image: Getty Images)
But he reached a new level of dominance in Spain, with a tendency for not only reaching records but smashing them to pieces.
In his 292 LaLiga appearances, Ronaldo incredibly delivered 310 goals — an average of more than one a game.
In the same period, Messi managed 329 goals by the virtue of playing more games, with 309 appearances in total, before Ronaldo left for Juventus in 2018.
Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record for most goals scored in the Champions League
He also managed to score 10 or more goals in seven consecutive seasons in the Champions League with Los Blancos and his record of 17 in 11 appearances in the 2016-17 campaign may never be surpassed.
He leads the all-time record for Champions League goals with 135 and counting, putting him a fair distance ahead of Messi.
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But at international level, there will be a nagging feeling for Ronaldo if he does not succeed in topping the pile.
His incredible haul of 103 goals in 174 Portugal caps is the highest-ever tally reached by a nation that plays under the umbrella of UEFA.
Yet, he still has a short distance to overtake Iran legend Ali Daei.
Cristiano Ronaldo is six goals off Ali Daei's (pictured) record of 109 goals for Iran
The former striker, who hung up his boots in 2006 after 13 years of dominating the Asian goalscoring charts, is clinging onto his record of 109 goals from 149 caps for his country.
It is certainly feasible that Ronaldo equals or even breaks Daei’s record at Euro 2020, where he will play in his fifth European Championship since his debut 18 years ago.
However, the 36-year-old will have to produce his best return of his Euros to get there after the multi-nation tournament, with three goals in the 2012 and 2016 tournaments his highest tally to date.
He already holds four records, including make the most appearances at the finals (21) out of any player in the tournament’s history.
Cristiano Ronaldo can break several records at Euro 2020
Would breaking Ali Daei's record confirm Cristiano Ronaldo as the greatest player of all time? Have your say in the comments section below.
If Portugal reach the final as they did in 2016 when they stunned France on their home turf, Ronaldo will become the first player to appear in three finals.
A goal on the way would also see him leapfrog Michel Platini in scoring the most goals in European Championships, with the pair tied on nine goals apiece.
The fact remains that despite his advancing years, Ronaldo is statistically still one of the best strikers in Europe’s top five leagues, scoring 36 goals in all competitions for the Bianconeri last season.
Time may seem like it’s running out — he turns 37 in February — and there are ever so small signs of decline in the pace that has made him such a menace in his career.
There is no relenting in terms of his passion for the game, as evidenced by his recent on-pitch outburst at the officials after incorrectly ruling out his goal against Serbia in a 2-2 draw.
There were calls for Portugal head coach Fernando Santos to strip Ronaldo of the captaincy after throwing his armband to the ground, a suggestion that was swatted away by the long-serving Selecao boss.
Cristiano Ronaldo has the support of Portugal manager Fernando Santos
“It was just a moment of frustration. Cristiano will remain the captain. He is an example for everyone,” said Santos after the game.
“If he had offended the coach or his team-mates, we would have thought about it, but nothing of this happened.
“He always wants to win, and he was very frustrated. He gives everything to his national team.
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"Nobody will say now that his reaction was beautiful, but there's no point to discuss if Cristiano should remain the captain. That's something I want to be very clear about.”
Given his support from Santos, the feeling is that Ronaldo will be allowed to keep going at international level until he says it’s time to stop.
That should allow him to break those records, and many more after that, as he seeks to further legitimise his status as a football great.
But until he achieves feat of becoming the all-time international goalscorer record, there is no chance Ronaldo will throw in the towel.
List of records Ronaldo can break
Most goals scored at international level: 109 – Ali Daei (Iran, 1993-2006); 103 CRISTIANO RONALDO (Portugal, 2003–)
Most Euros matches won : 11 – Cesc Fabregas & Andres Iniesta (Spain, 2008–2016); CRISTIANO RONALDO (Portugal, 2004–2016)
Most goals scored: 9 – Michel Platini (France: 1984), CRISTIANO RONALDO (Portugal: 2 in 2004, 1 in 2008, 3 in 2012, 3 in 2016)
Most matches with at least two goals: 2 – Gerd Muller (West Germany, 1972); Michel Platini (France, 1984); Rudi Voller (West Germany, 1984 & 1988); Wayne Rooney (England, 2004); CRISTIANO RONALDO (Portugal, 2012 & 2016); Antoine Griezmann (France, 2016)
Most tournaments with at least two goals: 3 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, 2004–2012); CRISTIANO RONALDO (Portugal, 2004, 2012–2016)
Most appearances in a European Championship final: 2 – Valentin Ivanov, Viktor Ponedelnik, Lev Yashin (Soviet Union, 1960 & 1964); Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeness, Sepp Maier, Georg Schwarzenbeck, Herbert Wimmer (West Germany, 1972 & 1976); Bernard Dietz (West Germany, 1976 & 1980); Thomas Hassler, Thomas Helmer, Jurgen Klinsmann, Matthias Sammer (Germany, 1992 & 1996); Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Ramos, David Silva, Fernando Torres, Xavi (Spain, 2008 & 2012); CRISTIANO RONALDO (Portugal, 2004 & 2016)
List of records Ronaldo can extend
Most matches played: 21 – CRISTIANO RONALDO (Portugal, 2004–2016)
Most minutes played: 1,793 – CRISTIANO RONALDO Portugal, 2004–2016)
Most matches with at least one goal: 7 – CRISTIANO RONALDO (Portugal, 2004–2016)
Most tournaments with at least one goal: 4 – CRISTIANO RONALDO (Portugal, 2004–2016)