Cristiano Ronaldo Extended His International Tally to 122 Goals in Portugal's 6-0 Riot Over Luxembourg in 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers

Cristiano Ronaldo Extended His International Tally to 122 Goals in Portugal’s 6-0 Riot Over Luxembourg in 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers

Portugal national team captain and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was the focal point in the previous 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifier against Liechtenstein, as he became the most-capped player in men’s international football (197 appearances). The 38-year-old scored a brace for Portugal in the 4-0 victory at home, followed by another two goals in Os Navegadores’ 6-0 thrashing over Luxembourg at the Stade de Luxembourg last night. Ronaldo’s four goals in back-to-back matches meant he has now scored 122 goals in international matches since making his international debut back in 2003.

Four in the Opening Half an Hour

Roberto Martínez shifted things up by bringing in three replacements for his second game in-charge as the Portugal national team manager. The 49-year-old head coach picked António Silva, Diogo Dalot and Nuno Mendes to start the game for Os Navegadores whereas Luc Holtz opted for four changes for his team that was held to a goalless draw against Slovakia a few days before.

The 2016 UEFA Euro winner wasted no time to register the first goal of the game, courtesy of its captain Cristiano Ronaldo. The Al-Nassr footballer capped off a brilliant passage of plays that was started by Bernardo Silva, after the Manchester City midfielder passed the ball to Bruno Fernandes, who then crossed it to Mendes. The 20-year-old left-back headed the ball to the unmarked Ronaldo to score his 121st international goal. Silva was again involved in Portugal’s second goal of the evening, when he delivered a beautiful cross to Chelsea’s loanee João Félix to score. 

Bernardo Silva turned into a goal scorer for the visitors next, after João Palhinha found the 28-year-old with a long ball, who then headed in Portugal’s third of the evening. Roberto Martínez’s men were not content with their three-nil advantage and scored another goal seconds after the half-hour mark, thanks to Ronaldo’s 122nd international tally. The former Real Madrid man received a through ball from ex United teammate Fernandes in the penalty box, before slotting home the ball into the bottom right corner with his left foot.


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Ten Goals in Two Matches for Os Navegadores

The second 45 minutes had no shortage of goals either. A determined Nuno Mendes broke free from his own half to enemy territory, before unleashing substitute Rafael Leão around the left flank. The AC Milan winger then provided a tempting cross into the penalty box for another replacement Otávio to score Portugal’s fifth goal of the night.

Luxembourg players were clearly exhausted and were no match for Leão’s speed late in the game, as the latter forced the home side to foul him in the penalty box. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old’s subsequent spot kick was correctly guessed by Anthony Moris, who parried the shot into a corner. Leão redeemed himself two minutes before the added time was given, when he beat the entire Luxembourg defence on himself to score his third ever international goal for Portugal.

Perfect Start to the Martínez Era

A double-figure of goals, clean sheets and victories in two games meant the Roberto Martínez-led Portugal is off to a great beginning in the new manager’s reign. The 49-year-old lauded Ronaldo in his post-match conference, stating that “Cristiano has incredible international experience, probably unique as he is the only player [in the world] with 198 caps. His experience is very important in the dressing room”.

The Balaguer-born also added, “I value the zero goals against more than the six goals, the penalty and the great attacking game we played here in Luxembourg. This game was not easy. What was important in both games was work and consistency. It wasn’t just changing some of the options. There are many options, it was more a change due to the physical demands. It was important to see Goncalo Inacio play well in the first game [v Liechtenstein], but for a young man, three days after a game, it was also important for him to rest.”

Ronaldo’s former teammate Marcus Rashford had to miss England’s opening two matches in the 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers due to injuries.

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