Football

Ronaldo reaches 93 international goals, scores against 40th nation

Portugal star scores against 40th nation, with four-goal feat against Lithuania

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo added to his ever-expanding number of records after smashing four goals past Lithuania in a Euro 2020 qualifier yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Baltic side are the 40th international team Ronaldo has scored against, the most of any player.

The 34-year-old is not just a flat-track bully though, he has also found the net against Spain, Belgium, Argentina, Croatia and Holland - four of which are in the top 10 of the Fifa rankings.

Playing in his 160th international, Ronaldo notched his eighth hat-trick for his country and the 54th of his remarkable career to help Portugal through what had threatened to turn into a frustrating evening.

Midfielder William Carvalho completed the rout in stoppage time as Portugal stayed second in Group B with eight points, five behind leaders Ukraine, who have a game in hand.

Serbia are a further point behind in third after a 3-1 win in Luxembourg.

Ronaldo's goals at the LFF Stadium in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius means he is now just 16 goals behind international football's record goalscorer Ali Daei - the former Bayern Munich forward scored 109 goals in 149 caps for Iran.

Said the Juventus attacker: "I scored one goal against Serbia and four today, and what I want most is to continue like this...

"As I always say, I don't live thinking about individual prizes.

"This is a consequence of what we collectively won. But it's good, I won't lie. The important thing was to help the team."

Portugal coach Fernando Santos, meanwhile, pointed to his star man's performance as undeniable justification that he is the best player in the world.

Said the European Championship and Nations League-winning coach: "This is the clear and irrevocable proof that he is the best player in the world.

"There is no stadium in the world where Ronaldo is not applauded, he is the best in the world...

"I think it's strange when he doesn't score. They say it is ending ... Nothing is ending.

"You have to be careful because it never ends."

In just under two weeks in Milan, Ronaldo will find out whether he will end Luka Modric's tenure as Ballon d'Or holder.

A sixth title would make him the outright leader in terms of football's most prestigious individual accolade.

However, Alex Morgan, who is up for the female version of the same award, has highlighted that a rape allegation continues to cast a cloud over the Portuguese.

Kathryn Mayorga accused Ronaldo of raping her in 2009 in Las Vegas. He has denied the claims but his representatives have admitted to paying her off.

CHARGES DROPPED

In July, United States prosecutors said the Juventus star will not face criminal charges as the allegations "cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt".

On the allegations, two-time Women's World Cup winner Morgan told Sports Illustrated last week: "When you look at (Ronaldo's) story in particular, I think there's too much evidence to cover up, and I think at the end of the day, money helps put stories down.

"The charges were dropped, so he can and does continue playing...

"That's not to say that I don't think he's one of the best footballers in the world, but that has nothing to do with it.

"What he does as a job and him entertaining people on the football field has nothing to do with who he might be as a person or the actions that he may have taken."

Football