The year was 2003 when up-and-coming football promise Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) was described as "one of the most exciting young players I’d ever seen" by Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Soon after, he became United's first Portuguese recruit.
Today, he’s the top-scorer player in the world.
The Portuguese football player has broken the record for most goals scored in international soccer matches (male) during the Portugal vs Ireland match played on 1 September 2021 at the Algarve Stadium (Portugal).
Previously, Ronaldo shared the record with Ali Daei (Iran), who scored 109 goals between 1993 and 2006. Against Ireland, a few minutes before the end of the match, Ronaldo broke his own record with the striking number of 111 goals.
Daei was captain of the Iran national football team and started coaching in 2006. He’s now a football manager, with Saipa being his most recent club, which he led from 2017 to mid-2019. Although Cristiano Ronaldo equalled Daei’s number between 2003 and 2021, the Portuguese striker finally topped it after getting the ball in the back of the net for the 111th time in the game against Ireland.
"Thank you to the Guinness World Records. Always good to be recognized as a world record breaker. Let’s keep trying to set the numbers even higher!💪🏽" writes the football superstar on his Instagram account.
This is far from Ronaldo’s first time lifting the silverware (or a Guinness World Records certificate!), though.
With 134 goals, the striker also holds the title for most Champions League goals, as well as most goals in aUEFA Champions League season by an individual (17) and most goals scored in the football (soccer) UEFA European Championships including qualifying matches (45, as of 23 Jun 2021).
He is also the highest-rated player in FIFA 18, with an overall rate of 99% – 1% ahead of Lionel Messi and Pelé, both runners-up at 98%.
A top-scorer, athlete, celebrity and social media sensation, Ronaldo is not new to being a champion even when he’s not taking the pitch.
He holds the record for most followers for an athlete on Twitter, as well as most followers on Instagram for an athlete. His Instagram account, @Cristiano, is also the overall most followed account on Instagram, beating Selena Gomez’s 120,135,089 followers in 2017.
As a legend of international football, Ronaldo’s Wikipedia page has had 112,000,000 views, the most viewed Wikipedia page for an athlete (male).
Furthermore, as of April 2021, he received the most likes for an athlete on Facebook, with a remarkable number of 124,726,150 thumbs up.
Ronaldo’s career started with Sporting CP when he was only 12. He never lost the ball since, becoming Portugal’s all-time top goalscorer.
After he was promoted from Sporting CP’s youth team, he subsequently became the first player to play for all the club's younger teams (under-16, under-17 and under-18). In the same year, he soared to the B team and then the first team, ending up winning the Supercup for Sporting Lisbon – all within his first season. After his transfer to Manchester United, at 23, he won his first Ballon d’Or.
Goal after goal, Ronaldo has won over the hearts of football fans regardless of teams and matches, winning with Portugal the UEFA European Championship 2016 against France and UEFA Nations League 2019. For the latter, Ronaldo raised the Alipay Top Scorer Trophy.
A series of triumphs that secured his position in the Olympus of Sports.
He became the only footballer to earn over $1 billion in their career and confirmed himself as one of the most sought-after, acclaimed, and successful athletes of all time. In 2018, Ronaldo moved to Juventus, the Turin-based club that has seen a steady rise after Ronaldo – quite literally – entered the field.
Currently, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner found himself yet again under the spotlight after his decision to leave Allegri’s club for his (much whispered) return to United, after originally signing with the club in 2003.
After this transfer, accompanied by a heartfelt message addressed to his former club and Juventus’ fans, the immediate future of the thirty-six-year-old, record-breaking athlete remains guesswork.
What is certain, however, is that Cristiano Ronaldo made history at the Algarve Stadium. His latest accolade has further cemented him as one of the greatest footballers in history.