Every year, Cristiano Ronaldo sets new records and chases down marks set by some of the all-time great players. And on Thursday, he passed Brazilian legend Pelé for international goals. Ronaldo scored a hat trick in a World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands, taking him to 78 career internationals goals — one more than Pelé.
Ronaldo opened the scoring against the Faroe Islands in just the third minute with this excellent overhead volley.
The Real Madrid star scored from the penalty spot for his second goal of the day, then punched in his third in the second half.
Ronaldo has been the best player in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying so far, scoring an amazing 14 goals in just seven games, but his team still has a lot of work to do. Portugal trails Switzerland in their World Cup qualifying group, and faces them again on Oct. 10.
CR7 already has a UEFA qualifying record with 14 goals in one qualifying tournament, and can now chase down the all-time record. That’s held by Karim Bagheri of Iran, who scored 19 goals during 1998 World Cup qualifying.
As for a bigger scoring record push, third place in all-time international goals for men’s soccer is now very much in sight for Ronaldo. That’s Kunishige Kamamoto of Japan, who retired with 80 international goals. Europe’s all-time leading scorer is Ferenc Puskás — the man the FIFA goal of the year award is named for — is second with 84. Ronaldo will probably get there before his career is done too, but he’ll have a hard time chasing down the top spot, held by Iranian Ali Daei. He scored 109 international goals.