Cristiano Ronaldo says breaking the all-time international goalscoring record with his 110th Portugal goal is special to him.
Ronaldo scored an injury-time winner to salvage his country a dramatic 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory over the Republic of Ireland in Faro on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old Ronaldo, whose return to Manchester United from Juventus was confirmed on Tuesday, had missed a penalty in the 15th minute before John Egan gave Ireland a half-time lead.
But Ronaldo equalised in the 89th minute with a header, before outjumping the Irish defence again in the sixth minute of added time.
He passes Ali Daei, who scored 109 international goals, after equalling the Iranian great’s record tally during Euro 2020.
After breaking the record, Ronaldo penned an emotional message on his Instagram page.
He wrote, “From all the records that I have broken during my career – and fortunately there have been a few – this one is very special for me and it’s certainly on the shelf of the achievements that make me truly proud.
“First of all, because every time I represent my country is a special moment, for knowing that I’m defending Portugal and showing to the world what Portuguese people are made of.
“Secondly, because national teams competitions have always had a very strong impact on me as I was growing up, watching my idols playing for their flags every other summer in Euros and in World Cups.
“But finally and above all, because scoring 111 goals for Portugal means 111 moments like the ones we experienced today in Algarve, moments of worldwide union and happiness for millions and millions of Portuguese citizens all around the globe. For them, every sacrifice is worth it.
“Another reason for me to appreciate this achievement as much as I do right now, is because Ali Daei has set the standards in such a high level that at some point, even I started thinking that I might never catch him.
“Congratulations to the ‘Shariar’ for holding the record for so long and thanks for always showing so much respect for me every time I scored and as I became closer and closer to his outstanding number.
“Thank you Portugal. Thanks to all my team-mates and opponents for making this journey so unforgettable. Let’s keep meeting inside the pitch in the years to come. I’m not closing the count just yet.”