Cristiano Ronaldo can barely walk onto the football field without breaking a record – but even by his high standards, his latest is a cracker.
His third-minute penalty in the 2018 World Cup clash between Portugal and Spain means Ronaldo becomes the first player ever to score in eight major international tournaments.
A major tournament is here defined as a World Cup, European Championship or Copa America.
Since first appearing for Portugal at a major tournament in Euro 2004, Ronaldo has bagged at least one goal in every big event where he has featured.
The Portugal talisman is also just the fourth player to score in four different World Cup tournaments – 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 – after Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose. Australia’s Tim Cahill could become the fifth if he nets in Russia.
Ronaldo went on to score a sensational hat-trick, the penalty followed by a 44th-minute drive which burst through the body of Spain goalkeeper David De Gea.
He then planted a magnificent late free kick in the top corner to earn Portugal a 3-3 draw – thus scoring from all three shots he had in the game.
The late set-piece was also the first goal Ronaldo had scored from a free kick in a major tournament, at the 45th attempt.
Bagging the hat-trick late on made Ronaldo the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history, aged 33 years and 130 days – the previous oldest was Rob Rensenbrink in June 1978 for the Netherlands against Iran (30y 335d).
To round off the batch of records broken and stats shattered by Ronaldo in Sochi on Friday evening, this was his 51st hat-trick for club and country in his remarkable career. By coincidence, it is also the 51st World Cup treble scored by all players since the first tournament back in 1930.