Cristiano Ronaldo's top 3 performances for Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo is known for showing his abilities in the biggest matches, and he's done it for Manchester United, Real Madrid, and the Portuguese National team.
However, his most celebrated performances for Portugal are not judged only by the stats. The context and what Portugal achieved after his heroics matters.
The prolific number seven machine has shocked the world with his crazy goalscoring and tremendous ability to show up at the big stage. It is crucial to establish Portugal is not a team with excessively high expectations. Some accomplishments are more prominent for the Portuguese fans than it would be for other countries with an enormous football tradition.
Ronaldo has scored 81 goals in 150 matches for Portugal and led his National Team to victory in the 2016 UEFA Euro in France. After all his heroics with Manchester United and Real Madrid, let's take a look at his best performances with Portugal, so far.
#3 Portugal vs Sweden, 2014 FIFA World Cup play-off
Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal faced Sweden and Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
His second leg performance was sublime. After Portugal's victory at home 1-0 in the first leg, everything was at stake in the second leg at Sweden, and Ronaldo delivered.
The number seven scored four goals in the two matches against Sweden to seal Portugal's ticket to Brazil. The aggregate score was 4-2, and Ronaldo managed to score Portugal's four goals and showed his entire offensive skills: one header, two goals with his left foot and one with his right foot.
The two-legged series would send one squad to the World Cup, and Ronaldo made sure Portugal would play in the sixth World Cup in its history, and the fourth in a row.
In many fans' minds, this performance by Ronaldo should rank higher, but the context matters. Even though this was a tremendous individual performance and provided Portugal the chance to play in the 2014 World Cup, their first-round exit in Brazil makes it hard to make a case for number one.