Cristiano Ronaldo has paid homage to Iranian Ali Daei after breaking his record in Portugal’s 2-1 victory over Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday.
The captain scored a late brace which saw him becoming the all-time leading scorer in men’s international football, overtaking Daei’s record.
He had missed a penalty in the 15th minute before John Egan gave Ireland a half-time lead.
Posting on Instagram after the match, Ronaldo described the latest feat as a special one
He said: “From all the records that I have broken during my career – and fortunately there have been a few – this one is very special for me and it’s certainly on the shelf of the achievements that make me truly proud.
“First of all, because every time I represent my country is a special moment, for knowing that I’m defending Portugal and showing to the world what Portuguese people are made of.
“Secondly, because national teams competitions have always had a very strong impact on me as I was growing up, watching my idols playing for their flags every other summer in Euros and in World Cups.
“But finally and above all, because scoring 111 goals for Portugal means 111 moments like the ones we experienced today in Algarve, moments of worldwide union and happiness for millions and millions of Portuguese citizens all around the globe. For them, every sacrifice is worth it.
He added: “Another reason for me to appreciate this achievement as much as I do right now, is because Ali Daei has set the standards in such a high level that at some point, even I started thinking that I might never catch him.
“Congratulations to the ‘Shariar’ for holding the record for so long and thanks for always showing so much respect for me every time I scored and as I became closer and closer to his outstanding number.
“Thank you Portugal. Thanks to all my team-mates and opponents for making this journey so unforgettable. Let’s keep meeting inside the pitch in the years to come. I’m not closing the count just yet…”
The 36-year old forward is also the top scorer in European Championship history (14) and in Euros and World Cups combined (21).