'The records come naturally': Cristiano Ronaldo scores 700th career goal despite Portugal defeat to Ukraine
Striker is now the sixth highest scorer in football history but it's Ukraine celebrating qualification for Euro 2020
Despite failing to keep Portugal from losing 2-1 to Ukraine in their most recent Euro 2020 qualifier, Cristiano Ronaldo reached a new milestone, scoring his 700th career goal.
Andriy Shevchenko's unbeaten team are through to next summer's finals with a match to spare as Group B winners thanks to first-half goals from Roman Yaremchuk and Andriy Yarmolenko, which meant that Ronaldo's 72nd-minute penalty wasn't enough for Portugal.
Portugal remain in second place on 11 points, one ahead of Serbia with fixtures at home to Lithuania and away to Luxembourg to come.
“We played more with the heart than with the head, especially after 2-1,” Portugal manager Fernando Santos said. “We created opportunities but didn’t score.”
Portugal captain Ronaldo netted his milestone goal for club and country by converting a penalty in the 72nd minute, when the defending European champions already trailed by two goals.
“The records come naturally,” Ronaldo said. “I don’t go after them, they come after me. I’m already thinking about tomorrow, about scoring No 701 in my next match.”
It was the seventh goal in six qualifying matches for Ronaldo, and his 95th overall for Portugal. The 34-year-old is now just 14 goals behind the all-time international record of 109 held by former Iran striker Ali Daei.
Over the course of his career, Ronaldo has also scored 450 goals for Real Madrid, 118 for Manchester United, 32 for his current club Juventus and five for Sporting.
He scored his first goal almost exactly 17 years ago and became the sixth player in history to reach 700 goals.
He now joins the elite goal scorers club alongside Josef Bican, Romario, Pele, Ferenc Puskas and Gerd Muller.
But he still has a long way to go before he becomes top scorer in history. Austrian-born forward Bican netted an impressive 800 goals between 1931 and 1950, while Romario and Brazilian striker Pele bagged 772 from 993 matches and 767 in 831 matches respectively.
Puskas scored 746 goals in 754 matches, while German forward Gerd Muller scored 735 in 793 matches.
But he has still scored more than his rival Lionel Messi, who trails him on 672 career strikes from 828 games.
Ukraine join Poland, Russia, Italy and Belgium in the multi-host tournament which kicks off in Rome on June 12.
Updated: October 15, 2019 08:50 AM