Cristiano Ronaldo rattled home a superb first-half free kick to become only the second male player to score 100 international goals as Portugal outclassed 10-man Sweden 2-0 in their Nations League A Group 3 game on Tuesday.
Portugal’s captain scored with a dipping set-piece effort just before halftime to join Ali Daei, who netted 109 times for Iran, on a century of goals.
The 35-year-old was a constant threat to Sweden’s back line in the early exchanges, hanging on the shoulder of the last defender before bursting forward to beat the offside trap, but Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen was equal to the task.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 100th international goal was always going to be special and the man of the moment didn’t disappoint 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/j0KhgTJ7z3
That all changed when Gustav Svensson received his second yellow card and was sent packing after a reckless challenge on Joao Moutinho on the edge of his own box just before halftime.
Ronaldo stepped up and smashed a dipping effort beyond the despairing dive of Olsen and just under the crossbar before breaking into a wide smile as he celebrated with his team mates.
Sweden were struggling to contain the visitors and Ronaldo struck again in the 73rd minute with another curling, dipping effort, this time from open play, to leave himself just eight goals short of Daei’s international scoring record.
The Juventus superstar had been stuck on 99 since November but finally broke the duck in trademark spectacular fashion.
Ronaldo’s former club Manchester United were quick to congratulate their former star, saying ‘Congratulations to Cristiano on a century of international goals for Portugal’.
Ronaldo is 14 goals ahead of Malaysia’s Mokhtar Dahari in third, with Lionel Messi the nearest high-profile player on 70 goals for Argentina.
Congratulations to @Cristiano on a century of international goals for @SelecaoPortugal 👏#MUFC #NationsLeague pic.twitter.com/y3kvqRi6Ki