Real Madrid and Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has equalled a world record Lionel Messi set during his 91-goal year in 2012.
The Portuguese came off the bench to score his country’s first strike in a hard-fought 2-0 win over Andorra on Saturday. The goal was Ronaldo’s 15th in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign and, at the time, equalled the European all-time record.
However, Robert Lewandowski has since added another strike to his tally, and finished the campaign with 16 goals for Poland. Ronaldo, though, has one more game – Portugal’s must-win clash against Switzerland on Tuesday – to equal or better Lewandowski’s record.
However, with his solitary strike against Andorra, the 30-year-old took his tally of international goals in 2017 to 25 strikes.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner has now scored 11 times for Portugal since the turn of the year, while adding another 14 for Los Blancos in the UEFA Champions League – he finished the 2016/17 campaign with 10 goals in his last five games and has already added another four this season.
In so doing, Ronaldo has equaled the world record for international goals scored in a calendar year, which was set by longstanding rival Messi in 2012.
Ronaldo matched Messi’s record tally in 2013, and now has a few more chances to make the record his own. The first comes on Tuesday, when Portugal will need to beat Switzerland in order to gain direct 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification.
If the 2016 UEFA European Championship winners fail to beat the Swiss, they will have to go through a qualification playoff, which would give Ronaldo an extra two chances to break the world record.
In addition, the Los Blancos talisman will play four more games in the UEFA Champions League as well as another two possible matches at the FIFA Club World Cup to add to his international goals tally in 2017.
The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) usually crowns the World’s Top Goalscorer, based on goals for their national team and at international club competitions, at the end of each calendar year, and Ronaldo is on track to lift the award a fourth time.
How many international goals do you think Ronaldo can still add to his tally in 2017? Have your say in the comments section below.