For the man who has everything: Ronaldo passes Pele as Portugal romps in World Cup qualifying

FC Yahoo
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/players/cristiano-ronaldo/" data-ylk="slk:Cristiano Ronaldo">Cristiano Ronaldo</a>’s hat trick against the Faroe Islands handed the superstar a couple milestones. (Reuters)
Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick against the Faroe Islands handed the superstar a couple milestones. (Reuters)

Since the start of 2016, Cristiano Ronaldo has won La Liga, the Champions League (twice), Euro 2016 and a fourth Ballon D’Or as world player of the year, with a fifth almost certainly on its way.

So what do you get for the man who has everything?

How about a couple high-profile international accomplishments?

Ronaldo’s hat trick, highlighted by an insane scissor-kick goal barely three minutes in, led Portugal past the Faroe Islands 5-1 and gave him the record for most goals scored in a European World Cup qualifying campaign.

Moreover, Ronaldo passed Pele on the list of most international goals scored, moving into a tie for fifth with 78.

With the exception of former Hungary and Spain striker Ferenc Puskas, the upper stratosphere of that list is dotted with players who horded goals in the generally weaker Asian and African confederations. While worthy of applause, their spots on the list don’t compare favorably to the likes of Ronaldo, who’s been menacing some of the best defenders in the world for a decade and a half.

Frequently, you simply have to hope he misses. He didn’t on his first goal, which was just silly:

Ronaldo doubled the lead with a penalty kick in the 29th minute, after Joao Mario was judged to have been brought down in the box by Faroe Islands defender Rouldar Jacobsen. The visitors surprisingly got on the board a few minutes later when Rogvi Baldvinsson pounced on a loose ball and roofed his shot.

William Carvalho responded to make it 3-1 by heading home a Ronaldo cross in the 58th minute.

The record-setting goal for Ronaldo came not long after thanks to a quick-footed move and composed finish:

Nelson Oliveira punctuated the three points with a goal in the 84th minute.

For all Ronaldo’s brilliance, a loss at Switzerland on the first day of European World Cup qualifying is looming large at the moment. Portugal sits second behind the Swiss in Group B with 18 points and therefore would be in a two-leg playoff to reach Russia if qualifying ended today.

But the Portuguese have a decisive advantage in goal differential, and if they can navigate a tricky away fixture at Hungary on Sunday, they’ll host Switzerland on the final matchday in what will likely amount to a winner-take-all for Group B.

In that scenario, it won’t hurt to have Ronaldo on your side.

What to Read Next