Cristiano Ronaldo took one giant step closer to the men's all-time international goal record by scoring four more for Portugal in a 5-1 rout of Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying on Tuesday.
Ronaldo now has 93 international goals and needs 16 to catch Iranian great Ali Daei, whose tally of 109 seemed unassailable. Portugal's 34-year-old captain is on the warpath, though, helping his side to three valuable qualiyfing points and scoring against a 40th country in his illustrious career. Portugal has eight points from four qualifiers, overcoming two early draws to sit in second place in Group B with eight points–and with a game in hand–behind Ukraine, which has 13 points through five games. Serbia sits a point behind Portugal with seven points. The top two sides in each group qualify for Euro 2020, though Portugal has the safety net of being a Nations League group winner (it won the whole competition) and has at the very least secured a playoff berth if required.
On Tuesday, Ronaldo started from the penalty spot, following a handball with a clinical finish in the seventh minute. He added scores in the 61st, 65th and 76th, giving him eight career international hat tricks and 54 in all competitions for club and country. The one in the 61st minute, which snapped a 1-1 draw, was a gift from Lithuania goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus, who went to ground to stop a relatively routine long-range shot from Ronaldo, only to have it bounce of him and into the goal.
The two strikes that followed resulted from some lax defending, allowing the Juventus star to score with relative ease and put the game away.
William Carvalho finished off the scoring in stoppage time, helping Portugal wrap up a perfect international window with the win. The reigning European champions brace for next month's qualifiers at home against Luxembourg and at Ukraine.