Euro 2020: Cristiano Ronaldo hailed as 'a great champion' by Ali Daei after equalling goal record


Cristiano Ronaldo is hailed as ‘a great champion of football’ by Ali Daei after equalling the former Iran player’s international goal record for Portugal and insists he is ‘honoured’ the Juventus star is set to beat his landmark tally

Cristiano Ronaldo has been hailed as ‘a great champion of football’ after equalling the international goal record for Portugal – by the man who set the landmark.

Former Iran forward Ali Daei sung the Juventus star’s praises after scoring twice in the 2-2 draw with France in their final Euro 2020 group stage game, which put him level with his tally of 109 strikes.

With Ronaldo now destined to score one more to become the new record holder, Daei took time to congratulate him on his Instagram account, admitting he was ‘honoured’ that a player of his calibre was set to beat his total.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice against France to equal the international goal record

He was congratulated by former Iran star Ali Daei who expects Ronaldo to beat his total

Cristiano Ronaldo was congratulated by former Iran star Ali Daei (R) after he scored twice against France to equal his international goal record 

Daei, who played for Iran between 1993 and 2006 and spent a season with Bayern Munich in 1998, was full of respect for the former Real Madrid and Manchester United star, calling him ‘a champion’ and ‘a caring humanist’. 

‘Congratulations to Cristiano Ronaldo who is now one goal away from breaking the men’s international goal scoring record,’ he wrote on his official account.

‘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. Vamos!’

Daei played for Bayern Munich during his career but was well known for his Iran exploits

Daei played for Bayern Munich during his career but was well known for his Iran exploits 

He called Ronaldo 'a great champion' as the Juventus star prepares to move past 109 goals

He called Ronaldo ‘a great champion’ as the Juventus star prepares to move past 109 goals

Ronaldo is already recognised as one of the greatest footballers all time but surpassing Daei’s overall record will cement his place in the higher echelons of the game. 

The Juventus star holds the record for most goals scored overall with 783, although this landmark is hotly contested by former Czech star Josef Bican and Brazilian legend Pele – who claims he has scored more than 1,000 goals including unofficial matches.

He is also Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer with 450 goals – as well as their leading sharpshooter in a single season with a magnificent 61.

And given his incredible track record and varied career, Ronaldo can also boast a record as the first player to score 50+ goals in the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A after starring for United, Madrid and Juventus. 

The 36-year-old netted twice from the spot against France to move closer to another landmark

The 36-year-old netted twice from the spot against France to move closer to another landmark

Ronaldo will hope to eclipse Daei when his Portugal side take on Belgium in the round of 16

Ronaldo will hope to eclipse Daei when his Portugal side take on Belgium in the round of 16

He was the hero for his country yet again on Wednesday night as he put them ahead from the penalty spot in the 31st minute after Hugo Lloris was adjudged to have fouled Danilo with a punch – putting him on 108 goals.

His old Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema replied just before half time with a spot kick of his own, before putting Les Bleus ahead again with a simple finish off the post just after the break.

But Ronaldo had the last laugh as he dispatched another penalty on 60 minutes to reach goal number 109 and draw level with Daei. 

The Portugal captain will now be eyeing the all time record – and he can achieve that should he get on the scoresheet against Belgium when the two giants meet in the last-16 in Seville. 

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