Asian football legend Ali Daei of Iran on Thursday congratulated Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portugal star scored his 109th goal in Wednesday’s Euro 2020 game against France to equal his all-time international record.
The 36-year-old Ronaldo, the leading scorer in European Championship history, converted his second penalty of the game in Budapest to match the record in his 178th international appearance.
“Congratulations to @cristiano who is now one goal away from breaking the men’s international goal scoring record,” Daei, a prolific striker, posted on Instagram.
“I am honoured that this remarkable achievement will belong to Ronaldo – great champion of football and caring humanist who inspires and impacts lives throughout the world.”
Daei scored a remarkable 109 goals in 149 appearances for Iran between 1993 and 2006, an achievement many thought would never be matched.
Daei has said on several occasions that he would be “delighted” if Ronaldo broke his record, as he believes the Juventus striker ranks among the best three players in history, alongside Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona.
Ronaldo responded to Daei with an Instagram story of his own. “True champions remain champions forever. I’m very proud to read such kind words from a huge idol like you. Thank you Ali Daei,” the Portugal legend said.
Ronaldo can edge clear of Daei with Portugal having advanced to the Euro 2020 Round of 16 as one of the best third-placed teams. The defending champions play Belgium on Sunday.