Christiano Ronaldo has set a new record by scoring in five different World Cup tournaments, the only male player to have done so.
The Portugal striker scored from the spot in the 65th minute to break the deadlock in a thrilling encounter against Ghana in their opening group H match on Thursday at the World Cup in Qatar. The star striker had earlier found the back of the net, but referee Ismail Elfath disallowed his goal in the 30th minute for a foul on Alexander Djiku.
Portugal went on to beat Ghana 3-2, with both Andre Ayew and Osman Bukari on the scoresheet for Ghana, while Joao Felix and Rafael Leao also scored for Portugal.
Christiano Ronaldo, Pele, Uwe Seeler, Miroslav Klose and Lionel Messi had been the only players to score at four different World Cups. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner now tops the charts.
“This was a beautiful moment,” Ronaldo said. “The world record, the only player to score in five World Cups, makes me very proud.”
Ronaldo only managed one goal in each of his first three competitions (2006, 2010, and 2014), but he scored four goals in Russia in 2018. He also now has a men’s record 118 international goals.
“I think Cristiano is a phenomenon, a legend,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. “In 50 years, we will continue to talk about him.”
For Ronaldo, who entered the World Cup competition amid a contentious parting with Manchester United, the goal against Ghana briefly brought soccer back into focus. The 37-year-old star’s contract with the Premier League team was terminated, the club revealed on Tuesday. This came days after Ronaldo blasted Manchester United in an open interview with Piers Morgan.
“The important thing was that the team won,” Ronaldo said after Thursday’s win. “The [Manchester United] chapter is closed, and the focus is solely and exclusively on the World Cup. As I said, we wanted to start off on the right foot. We won, we played well, and I helped the team. Everything else is not important. The important thing is the national team.”
When Portugal plays their second group match against Uruguay the next week, Ronaldo will be looking to increase his tally at Qatar 2022.