An International Century

Cristiano Ronaldo has made a habit of doing things that have never been done. Today, he became the first European to ever score 100 goals in international competition. Simply put, this should be an impossible achievement. The only other male player who’s ever done that is Iran’s Ali Daei, who spent the vast majority of his international career playing against Asian countries, who haven’t historically been tough opponents (with only a couple of exceptions).

Meanwhile, European competition, which Cristiano Ronaldo has competed against for most of his time with the Portuguese national team, is well known for being the hardest of all the continents. That’s why Cristiano’s achievement is so amazing. He broke the all-time European record for most international goals a few years ago, passing Hungarian striker Ferenc Puskás’ mark of 84 goals, a mark that had stood for over 50 years.

Also, unlike many top international scorers like Daei or Lionel Messi (his closest comparison), very few of his international goals have come in meaningless international friendlies (only 17%, or 17 goals, to be exact). Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has scored over 40% (33 of 70 goals) in friendly matches.

What point am I trying to make? Well, there’s two: First, this is just another reason why Cristiano Ronaldo should be considered better than Lionel Messi. But the second is more important. Cristiano Ronaldo’s achievement of a century of international goals should be recognized as one of soccer’s greatest achievements of durability because it shows how effective he’s been over the course of his entire career, to the point where he is still the focal point of a strong international squad at the age of 35.

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