Cristiano Ronaldo has bagged another hattrick against Lithuania as he took his International goal tally to 98 and Portugal move to within one win of Euro 2020 qualification.
The Portugese star could become only the first European and in fact, the second man to hit 100 International goals if he bags two against Luxembourg who Portugal are poised to face next.
He is just 11 goals adrift of the world record holder – Ali Daei who recorded 109 international goals for his national team, Iran.
The 34-year-old scored a penalty just inside of nine minutes before registering his name on the scoresheet for the second time that night, in the 22nd minute.
Pizzi, Goncalo Paciencia and Pep Guardiola’s favorite at Manchester City, Bernardo Silva then followed up with goals of their own before the latter set up Ronaldo for his third goal.
The Juventus forward has now netted nine hattricks for his country. Interestingly, seven of them came after his 30th birthday.
This is Ronaldo’s joint highest goal tally in a calendar year for his country, Portugal, with 13 – coming in his past seven caps – matching his 2016 total.
The former Real Madrid forward has been substituted in his last two games for Juventus, with Maurizio Sarri tying the reason for those substitutions to be a knee problem the Portugal International has.
In response to this claim by Maurizio Sarri, Portugal manager, Fernando Santos said:
“I never had any doubts about his condition, it was other people who had them. Nothing surprises me about Cristiano.”
The defending Champions will book a spot in next summer’s Euro 2020 competition if they beat Luxembourg.
Aleksandar Mitrovic was on target for Serbia. The former Newcastle forward’s brace ensured that his side executed a 3-2 win over Luxembourg.
With that win, the race for the second qualifying spot in Group B goes down to the wire.
Elsewhere, Ukraine has already booked a spot in the summer showdown.