From winks to records: Cristiano Ronaldo's most iconic moments for Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his tenth international hat-trick in Portugal's 5-0 thumping of Luxembourg on Tuesday night, and even at the age of 36 the striker is still chasing records.

Cristiano Ronaldo has seen it all during a stunning 17-year international career with Portugal.

He has cried, winked, hurt, and won, and become only the second man to reach 100 goals for his country.

Three more in the 5-0 thrashing of Luxembourg took his tally to 115 and the 36-year-old is not intent on stopping yet, saying after the match he will "always be looking for more and more and more".

Planet Sport looks back on some of his most iconic moments for his country.

Announcing himself on the international stage

It was perhaps fitting that Cristiano Ronaldo made his international bow under the brightest of spotlights, and predictable that he'd immediately make his presence felt.

Ronaldo was just 18 years old when he played his first competitive international game, and it came in Portugal's opening match as hosts of Euro 2004.

Portugal lost the match 2-1 against eventual tournament winners Greece, with Ronaldo giving away a penalty five minutes after coming on as a second half substitute.

He would make some amends, though, by scoring Portugal's goal deep into stoppage time.

In the quarter-finals, Ronaldo scored a penalty in the shootout as Portugal beat England, and he scored the opener in their 2-1 win over the Netherlands in the semi-finals.

However, the tournament would end in heartbreak, with Greece again beating the Portuguese in the final. It was all a bit much for the teenage Ronaldo, who wept at the final whistle.

World Cup wink-gate

Two years later, Cristiano Ronaldo had replaced the aging Luis Figo as Portugal's star man, although the latter was still a key part of the team.

Ronaldo didn't have a great World Cup in 2006 though, scoring just one goal from the penalty spot.

He was involved in arguably the most controversial moment of the competition too. In the quarter-finals against EnglandWayne Rooney got in a tangle with Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho, which they referee appeared happy to let go.

However, Ronaldo came running over apparently pleading with the referee to send off his Manchester United team-mate, and the referee obliged.

If that wasn't controversial enough, a mischievous wink after the incident appeared to reveal Ronaldo's nefarious intentions and incensed nation.

Portugal dumped England out again in a penalty shoot-out, but Ronaldo had far from covered himself in glory.

Captain at 22

Ronaldo's status as the heir-apparent to Luis Figo as Portugal's great hope was highlighted when the assumed the captaincy in 2006 at the age of just 22.

He also took Figo's number 7 shirt as a further right of passage, with the CR7 brand soon following.

Ronaldo grabbed himself a goal at Euro 2008 against the Czech Republic, but it was a less than memorable tournament for him.

It was later revealed that he had been playing through an ankle injury that required surgery as soon as the tournament was over.

Carlos Queiroz disaster

When Carlos Queiroz replaced Phil Scolari as Portugal boss after the World Cup, it looked like a perfect match for Ronaldo.

Queiroz had coached Ronaldo at Manchester United and had been credited with a major role in his development. However, his defensive style frustrated his superstar forward.

His goals dried up for Portugal and confidence suffered, and when asked by a reporter why the Selecao had lost to Spain in the round-of-16, Ronaldo abruptly replied: "Ask Queiroz."

Queroz didn't last much longer after that, and that spelt the start of Ronaldo's rise as a star of international soccer.


The 2010 World Cup itself was not great for either Portugal or Ronaldo. His only goal came in their 7-0 trouncing of North Korea in Cape Town.

In fact, that was the only match in which Portugal scored at all during that tournament.

However, 2010 also drew a clear line in the sand in terms of Ronaldo's international career as a whole.

He had previously gained a reputation for being a player who was unable to replicate his club form on the international stage. Hiis goalscoring record before the 2010 World Cup was respectable enough (23 goals in 76 games) but nothing spectacular.

In the 100 games he has played for Portugal since the 2010 World Cup, he has scored 84 times.

Greatest goal he never scored

For all the goals Ronaldo has scored, it is possible that his greatest one never actually counted.

During a 2010 friendly against the then World and European champions Spain in Lisbon, Ronaldo produced a moment of obscene magic to turn Spanish defenders in the box and then lob Ilka Casillas with the outside of his boot.

Sadly, Nani was in an offside position at the far post and found himself utterly unable to resist poking the ball over the line.

The goal was ruled out, and Ronaldo was animatedly apoplectic in a way that only he seems able to truly pull off.

"Ronaldo 2-1 Netherlands"

At Euro 2012 Ronaldo showed he was able to win a game almost by himself for Portugal, and it's something he has been showing ever since.

The Netherlands were World Cup runners-up two years earlier and really fancied their chances of going one step further at the Euros.

What followed, though, was a disaster, and Ronaldo rubbed salt in those wounds by downing them in their final group game to eliminate them from the competition.

Such was the quality of Ronaldo's performance, one prominent newspaper in Holland went with the headline of "Ronaldo 2-1 Netherlands."

Tears to victory

Ronaldo finally did lead his country to a major international trophy at Euro 2018 but, perhaps in fitting with the rest of his international career, it was not straightforward.

After a fine tournament of dragging Portugal to the final almost single-handedly, Ronaldo was expected to shine again in the championship match against France.

However, a strong challenge on his early in the first half resulted in a knee injury that he was unable to push through, and he sank to his knees in tears knowing he could play no further part on the pitch.

He made up for that by proving to be a huge touchline presence, almost coaching the team to win the match from the bench.

Still chasing records

Ronaldo went into Euro 2020 with two major records within his grasp.

The first of which, he hit in the first game. Despite being frustrated for most of the match, he scored two late goals against Hungary in Portugal's Euro 2020 opener.

Those goals made him the highest goalscorer (11) in European Championships history as well as the only man to score at five different tournaments.

He extended that record even further with another goal against Germany in their following match.

Portugal's final group game of Euro 2020 came against France and it proved to be a pivotal encounter in Ronaldo's ongoing pursuit of becoming the greatest goalscorer in international soccer.

Two successfully converted penalties from the striker allowed him to tie Ali Daei's all-time international goalscoring record of 109.

A 1-0 defeat to Belgium in the last 16 of the tournament meant he had to wait just a little longer to move clear of Daei.

However, he broke the record in dramatic fashion during Portugal's World Cup qualifier with Republic of Ireland in September of 2020.

Having missed the chance to move on to 110 goals when his penalty was saved by Gavin Bazunu earlier in the match, Ronaldo levelled the tie in the 89th minute to claim the record outright. He was not finished there, though and added a further goal in injury time to give his side the victory.

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