Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother cried uncontrollably after her son scored 117 goals for Portugal at the stadium where he grew up.
In his side’s rout 4-0 victory against Switzerland in the Nations League, the 37-year-old scored twice in rapid succession. With 15 minutes on the clock, Ronaldo, who had begun on the bench in Thursday’s 1-1 draw away to Spain, gave Portugal the lead by smashing a free-kick towards goal and allowing William Carvalho to tap in the rebound.
Then the Manchester United superstar got himself on the scoresheet, scoring twice in four minutes with a couple of first-time goals set up by Diogo Jota of Liverpool.
Ronaldo pointed to the heavens in celebration, exactly as he did when he scored his first goal for United after the heartbreaking death of his infant son in April. In the stands, his mother, Maria Dolores, was spotted crying tears of joy while wearing a Portugal shirt.
The fact that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s heroics were achieved at Sporting Lisbon’s Estadio Jose Alvalade added to the drama of the moment. Ronaldo spent six years as a youth with the Portuguese giants before moving to Old Trafford in 2003, when he was only 18 years old.
That summer, United met Sporting in a friendly match to commemorate the opening of the Estadio Jose Alvalade, and it was the legendary game in which Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering club was defeated 3-1 and surprised by a crafty young winger in green and white. Ronaldo, who now has eight goals more than Iran icon Ali Daei, is the all-time highest goalscorer in men’s international football.
Former Real Madrid and Juventus talisman Cristiano Ronaldo is used to such plaudits, stating recently that “records follow me.” On an edition of United’s Player Diaries, Ronaldo said, “The records, it’s coming in a natural way.” “I don’t keep track of the records, but the records keep track of me. So far, so good.
Cristiano Ronaldo with a brace as Portugal batter Switzerland in the first half pic.twitter.com/QN6qK07BZk
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) June 5, 2022
“It’s still what drives me to keep going. Just putting in the effort. I’m still enamored by the game’s enthusiasm. And, of course, Manchester and my teammates were there for me every step of the way, so I owe a debt of gratitude to all of Cristiano’s supporters.” But the most important thing for me is to win games and attempt to win a title or a cup, and I believe Manchester will return to their rightful place. It may take some time, but I continue to believe.”
After winning the first Nations League three years ago, Portugal now leads Group A2 with a resounding victory on Sunday. Fernando Santos’ side will face Ghana, Uruguay, and South Korea in Group H of the World Cup in Qatar later this year, and Ronaldo will be looking to continue his goal-scoring record.