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Cristiano Ronaldo's top four favourite international opponents according to numbers

ANALYST
Feature
14 Nov 2019, 19:17 IST

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is the only active player, and only the sixth in the history of the game, to have scored over 700 goals for club and country.

Ronaldo made his debut for Portugal as a 17-year-old in a 2003 friendly against Kazakhstan, and scored his first goal against Greece in a 1-2 loss during the Euro 2004 group stage. Since then Ronaldo has scored 94 times in 154 games to become the highest goalscorer for any European nation, and second in the all-time list, behind Iranian legend Ali Daei (109) who is the only player to score 100 international goals.

The only player to score in four different European Championships, Ronaldo won his first major title for his national team at the 2016 Euros where Portugal beat hosts France in the final. Ronaldo has also lifted the inaugural UEFA Nations League in 2018 for Portugal.

Ronaldo is the only player to score in eight successive major tournaments, from Euro 2004 to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and is the highest scorer in Euro qualifying, Euro tournament proper and FIFA World Cup qualifying (by an European player).

The Juventus striker has played 162 games for Portugal, scoring a goal in each of the four different international team competitions he has appeared in (World Cup, Euros, Confederations Cup, and Nations League). Ronaldo's eight hat-tricks for Portugal are more than double the next best tally of three by Pedro Pauleta.

During the course of his international career, Ronaldo has faced 68 different teams, scoring against 41 of them. Let us find out the Portuguese captain's top-four favourite international opponents going by his stats.


#1: Sweden (5 goals in 6 games)


Ronaldo against Sweden
Ronaldo against Sweden

Since going goalless in three games against the 1958 FIFA World Cup finalists, Ronaldo scored the lone goal for Portugal in the first leg of the play-off for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

In the second leg, Ronaldo stole Zlatan Ibrahimovic's thunder with a sumptuous hat-trick in the Swedish capital which sealed a 4-2 aggregate win for Portugal and a passage to the quadrennial tournament. The Portugal captain also scored in a 2-3 'friendly' loss in 2017.

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#2: Latvia (5 goals in 4 games)


Ronaldo rejoices after scoring against Latvia
Ronaldo rejoices after scoring against Latvia

Ronaldo's 5 goals against Latvia have all come in FIFA World Cup qualifiers, scoring once in two games in the 2006 World Cup qualifying, and braces in both games during the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Portugal beat Latvia in all 4 games Ronaldo appeared in.


#3: Armenia (5 goals in 4 games)


Ronaldo takes in the applause after scoring against Armenia
Ronaldo takes in the applause after scoring against Armenia

Ronaldo has scored five goals in four Euro qualifying games against Armenia.

The Portugal captain found the back of the net once in two games during qualifying for the 2008 Euros, and scored a goal and a hat-trick in two games during the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Portugal won all four games.

# 4: Andorra (5 goals in 2 games)

Ronaldo rejoices after scoring one of his 4 goals against Andorra.
Ronaldo rejoices after scoring one of his 4 goals against Andorra.

Ronaldo scored a four-goal hat-trick against the European minnows in a qualifying game for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in a 6-0 home win for Portugal and also scored once in the away game which Portugal won 2-0.

The first of those two games marked the first time Ronaldo scored 4 goals in a game for the Selecao das Quinas.


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