Iran football icon Ali Daei insists he ‘sincerely hopes’ Cristiano Ronaldo can break his all-time international goals record of 109… with Portugal star now just seven goals behind
- Cristiano Ronaldo just seven goals shy of Ali Daei’s international scoring record
- Portugal star has 102 goals and is closing in on Iranian’s 109 in 149 matches
- Ronaldo has chance to add to his tally when Portugal play Croatia on Tuesday
- Daei says he will have absolutely no problem if Ronaldo overtakes his record
Cristiano Ronaldo is fast closing in on the international scoring record of 109 goals established by Ali Daei.
And the Iranian icon would warmly congratulate the Portuguese star if he surpasses his astonishing feat.
Daei, now 51, netted 109 goals in 149 matches for Iran between 1993 and 2006 but Ronaldo is close to overtaking him with 102 goals in 169 appearances for Portugal.
Cristiano Ronaldo is quickly closing in on the international scoring record of Iran’s Ali Daei
Daei scored an incredible 109 goals in 149 games for Iran between 1993 and 2006
The Juventus star, 35, has the chance to add to his extraordinary goal tally when Portugal play Croatia in the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday night.
With Euro 2020 as well as World Cup 2022 qualifiers on the horizon, Ronaldo will expect to add another record to his considerable collection.
And Daei would be happy to see it happen, telling Portuguese newspaper Record: ‘I sincerely hope that Cristiano Ronaldo will reach my goal record for the national team.
Ronaldo’s 102nd goal for Portugal came in their 7-0 friendly win over Andorra last week
But the Juventus star was left frustrated as Portugal lost 1-0 to France in the Nations League
All-time top scorers in international football
1. Ali Daei (Iran) – 109 goals in 149 games
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 102 goals in 169 games
3. Mokhtar Dahari (Malaysia) – 88 goals in 131 games
4. Ferenc Puskas (Hungary) – 84 goals in 85 games
5. Godfrey Chitalu (Zambia) – 79 goals in 111 games
6. Hussein Saeed (Iraq) – 78 goals in 137 games
7. Pele (Brazil) – 77 goals in 92 games
8= Kunishige Kamamoto (Japan) – 75 goals in 76 games
8= Bashar Abdullah (Kuwait) – 75 goals in 134 games
10= Sunil Chhetri (India) – 72 goals in 115 games
10= Majed Abdullah (Saudi Arabia) – 72 goals in 117 games
‘In no way [would it hurt], it would be a real honour for me if a player in his class could do it.
‘Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players not only of his time, but of all time. He is an absolute phenomenon.
‘I would congratulate him directly, but first he has to get there.
‘Cristiano already has 102 goals for Portugal and will beat my record, I’m sure of that, but he still has seven goals to go.’
Ronaldo’s journey to the potential record started when he scored against Greece in the opening match of Euro 2004.
Along the way, he helped fire Portugal to glory at Euro 2016 and also in the 2019 Nations League. His goal in the 7-0 friendly win over Andorra last week took him to 102 goals but he was unable to find the net against France on Saturday.
That 1-0 defeat saw France claim top spot in the group and qualify for the Nations League finals next October, leaving the Croatia game as a dead rubber and Portugal’s title defence over.
And Portugal coach Fernando Santos insisted Ronaldo’s pursuit of the record will not influence how his team plays.
He said: ‘No, certainly not, nobody will be thinking about Cristiano. [The other players] will not be thinking about not scoring in order to give the chance to someone else.
‘Even Cristiano wouldn’t want that to happen. Cristiano will score when he has to score. They [other players] will not be thinking about that.’