Portugal coach Roberto Martinez has praised Cristiano Ronaldo as the striker officially marked 20 years of service to the country in the Selecao squad.
After making his debut in 2003 against Kazakhstan on August 20, the 38-year-old has scored 123 goals in 200 appearances. He is currently the highest scorer in international football history.
In a statement released by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), coach Martinez said: “I think there are many players who can win trophies and have many memories, but there are 20 years involved with the team. And playing 200 games is a unique achievement in international football. This legacy can only belong to Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Martinez continued to emphasize the importance of having a player like Ronaldo in the squad when expressing: “Having a player with 20 years of experience in the national team is an opportunity to beat other opponents, because Ronaldo has high contribution and quality for juniors to follow.
We are proud to have a player whose 200 appearances is a unique case in world football. It brings uniqueness to the dressing room and there is no doubt that Ronaldo is the best player in the world.”
During more than 15,000 minutes playing for his national team, Ronaldo helped Portugal win Euro 2016 and win the UEFA Nations League in 2019.
The president of the Portuguese Football Federation, Fernando Gomes, did not spare praise for the Al Nassr striker, after Cristiano Ronaldo completed two decades of service with the national team: “This is a great feat. Ronaldo’s contribution is much more than a 20-year milestone serving Portugal. impression”.
He continued: “During the 20 years at the peak of his career, Ronaldo’s service to the national team has been an undeniably successful 20 years for the Portuguese national team. He and his teammates have reached it. culminating, by winning Euro 2016 and the Confederation cup 2019.”
President Gomes praised Ronaldo’s dedication to the national team and his homeland: “Over the years, what I must emphasize is the passion and love that Ronaldo has. He has always been dedicated, willing to contribute and play for Portugal. That is love for the team and for this country.”
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has set a record with the most appearances for the national team, at 200. Meanwhile, the Portuguese team has progressed to the knockout stages of all World Cups during Ronaldo’s time, with the top spot finishing fourth in 2006.
Currently, the former Man United striker with Al Nassr has just lost two matches at the beginning of the Saudi Arabia national championship season. He missed the opening match against Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq due to injury. Previously, Ronaldo inspired teammate Al Nassr to win the Saudi Arabia Club Cup with a victory over big rival Al Hilal.