On Thursday night, Portugal thumped Lithuania 6-0. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 55th career hat-trick to help his national side dominate their Euro 2020 Qualifiers match. Ronaldo's brilliance on the field ensured that his country is now just one win away from making it to the European Championships in 2020.
This marks Ronaldo's 9th international hat-trick. With his treble, CR7 reached 98 international goals. Now, it's just a matter of time until the Portuguese behemoth completes his century.
Amazingly, none of the other strikers representing any top football nation have gotten close to his mindboggling record. Ronaldo is currently the highest-scoring active footballer on this planet. His arch-nemesis, Lionel Messi, is way behind in terms of the international tally.
In fact, the Argentine icon's international records are looking ordinary in front of the Portuguese legend's feats. Messi has only scored 68 goals in 136 international appearances for Argentina.
It took CR7 just 163 games to score 98 goals. Right now, Ronaldo has 21 more international goals to his name than Pele, who is one of the greatest sportsmen in the history of the game.
The Brazilian maestro lifted the World Cup three times and scored 77 goals throughout his 14 year career. On the other hand, Miroslav Klose scored 71 goals in 137 matches for Germany. As an international player, however, Klose stood out of the rest because of his ability to perform on the biggest stages.
Klose is the highest goalscorer in FIFA World Cup's history with 16 goals. In contrast, CR7 has seven World Cup goals . However, Klose had the opportunity to play more World Cup games. The German was part of the team that won the 2014 World Cup.
With Ronaldo quickly approaching 100 international goals, the debate on "who is the best" gained more fuel. The comparison with Messi has reached new heights.
On one hand, CR7 helped his side win their first major international trophy as Portugal lifted the 2016 European Cup. In contrast, Messi led Argentina to two Copa America finals and the 2014 World Cup final. However, at all instances he remained a tragic hero as Argentina couldn't finish on the victory podium. While Ronaldo has equally excelled at both club and international levels, Messi is yet to replicate his club form in the international arena.