55th Career Hat Trick: Ronaldo Aiming Higher

 


Five-time Ballon d’Or winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are arguably the greatest players of all time, breaking and setting different individual records for both clubs countries. But the Portuguese now has another record the Barcelona captain will be jealous of.

 Ronaldo led Portugal to a 6-0 mauling of Lithuania in the qualifiers for the 2020 Euros qualifiers, and the Juventus star man stepped up by scoring a hat trick as the defending champions edge closer to qualifying for the tournament, while also joining football great, Pele in an elite group.
 
 The 34-year-old was a surprise starter in the clash, after he was substituted in Juventus’ last Serie A game due to injury, but the Portugal captain played for 83 minutes for his country and delivered a hat trick to hit a milestone.

The former Real Madrid man scored his 55th career hat trick, more than his rival Lionel Messi, and any other active player. The hat trick was also his 9th international hat trick, 3 more than the Argentine. 

Ronaldo scored his 1st hat trick for Portugal against Northern Ireland in 2013, in a FIFA World Cup qualifiers. He scored his 2nd later that year against Sweden, also a qualifiers for the mundial.

His 3 rd hat trick came in June 2015 against Armenia, for Euro 2016 qualifiers, while he scored his 4 th in a world cup qualifiers against Andorra in 2016, he scored 4 in that match.

Ronaldo scored his 5th international hat trick in a world cup qualifiers in 2017 against the Faroe Island, and a year later, he scored number 6 against Spain at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

On his return to the Portugal team for the final of the UEFA Nations League, Ronaldo scored his 7th hat trick for the European champion in the semi-final against Switzerland, to win the highest goal scorer of the tournament. He then scored number 8 against Lithuania two months ago, scoring 4 in that encounter.

Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored another hat trick against Lithuania in the penultimate qualifiers match in a must win match to give Portugal hope of qualifying for Euros 2020.

With his 9th international hat trick, Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 32 goals in 2019, becoming just the second player in history to score 30+ goals in a calendar year for 13 straight years. Whereas, Lionel Messi has scored those numbers in 11 years. The Portugal captain is second only to Pele.

Of the 55 career hat tricks cored by Ronaldo, 44 was for Real Madrid, one for both Manchester United and Juventus, and 9 for his country, Portugal.

The 34-year-old has now scored 98 international goals, 11 behind Ali Daei's, who is the player with the most international goals, with 109 and 8 hat tricks. Portugal will take on Luxembourg in their final qualifiers, and the Juventus man will want to add to his tally.

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