With his 128th international goal in 204 appearances for Portugal in their match against Liechtenstein yesterday, 38-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo has been propelled to the spot of the joint top scorer of the 2024 Euro Qualifiers. The goal was the A Seleção das Quinas and Al-Nassr skipper’s 10th in nine matches in the qualifying round of the UEFA Euro 2024, meaning he has now scored the same amount of goals as 30-year-old Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku, the provisional top scorer of the 2024 Euro Qualifiers who completed the double-digit milestone in only seven matches in Group F of the 2024 Euro Qualifiers.
Evergreen Ronaldo Netted His 128th International Goal
Coming into the Liechtenstein clash, Portugal and Ronaldo have already qualified for the UEFA Euro 2024 Finals at Germany next year with eight wins in as many matches in the qualifying round, scoring a total of 32 goals and conceding only twice during the process; The home team, on the contrary, have zero points in their own eight group matches and have been scored against 25 times already.
Portugal had to wait until the second half to break the deadlock of the match, when Ronaldo bagged his 128th senior international goal of his career. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was benefited by Portugal’s teamplay during the process, after the backline intercepted a poor pass from Liechtenstein. João Félix then cleverly flicked a pass to Diogo Jota, before the Liverpool man unleashed his captain near the dangerous zone. Ronaldo would go on to take a dribble into the box and scored past Benjamin Büchel with a decent strike. The goal saw him become the joint top scorer of the 2024 Euro Qualifiers.
Not long after Ronaldo’s opener, João Cancelo doubled his team’s lead. The Barcelona right-back observed that the opposing goalkeeper was off his line, so he carefully dinked the ball over the 34-year-old and into the unguarded goal three minutes before the hour mark. Ronaldo’s goal that allowed him to become the joint top scorer of the 2024 Euro Qualifiers and Cancelo’s intelligent effort were sufficient for Portugal to bag all three points for the ninth time in the qualifying round of the UEFA Euro 2024, finding the back of the net for a staggering total of 34 times as a result.
Portugal toil to a 2-0 win over Liechtenstein who lose their 29th game out of 30.
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) November 16, 2023
Tied Lukaku as the Joint Top Scorer of the 2024 Euro Qualifiers
Despite being close to 40 this year, Ronaldo shows that he is aging like a fine wine. The goal he scored against Liechtenstein not only allowed him to be the joint top scorer of the 2024 Euro Qualifiers as Lukaku, it also meant the 38-year-old now has 46 goals for club and country in 2023, trailing only Erling Haaland (48 goals for Norway and Manchester City) and Harry Kane (47 goals for England, Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur) for the top scorer in the current calendar year.
With the form the player is in at the moment, it would not be a surprise to see him achieve the 50-goal milestone and hunt the top scorer crown of 2023 down before January comes.
Can Portugal and Ronaldo Make It a Perfect 10 and the Top Scorer of the 2024 Euro Qualifiers?
With a maximum 27 points grabbed over nine matches in the 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers and qualification secured for next year’s Finals at Germany, only two questions remaining for A Seleção das Quinas: Can they win all 10 matches in the qualifying round, and can Ronaldo edge past Lukaku as the top scorer of the 2024 Euro Qualifiers?
The Portugal national team will next face Iceland at Estádio José Alvalade this weekend for their final round of the 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers, opponents whom they narrowly overcame with Ronaldo’s last-minute winner in the 89th minute at Laugardalsvöllur. Make sure you subscribe to AsiaSport.com‘s high-quality livestream channels to watch the match and see how the above questions will be answered in the Sunday game!