Ranking Cristiano Ronaldo’s five most clutch goals for Portugal

Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images) /
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The sport of football has been represented by two individuals for a long time. Former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and ex-Barcelona man Lionel Messi have dominated the sport for almost 15+ years, and both of them have faced and overcome a lot of challenges on the way. Out of both, the Portuguese has been subjected to a lot of unjust criticism from pundits and the media and has always been asked to prove himself at every stage of his career.

The situation in November 2021 wasn’t any different, as Ronaldo was scapegoated for Portugal’s failure to qualify directly for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar. At the age of 37, and after leading his team to two international trophies under his leadership, the charismatic Portuguese was questioned by people for his team’s collective failure. And after the Portuguese got a tough draw for the playoffs, people started to write off Cristiano and his national team.

But all his critics got a befitting reply from Portugal and Ronaldo, as they have qualified for the biggest football tournament this year, after beating North Macedonia 2-0 in the final playoff game on Wednesday. Ronaldo wasn’t as impactful as his usual self, but he had scored six goals in the group stages and assisted Bruno Fernandes’ winner vs North Macedonia.

On this occasion of Ronaldo, one of Real Madrid’s biggest legends, qualifying for his fifth World Cup finals, let us have a look at some of the best moments in his incredible international career, and take a trip down memory lane by revisiting five of his most clutch goals for Portugal.

Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)
Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images) /

5. 96th-minute winner vs Ireland, World Cup Qualifiers 2021

The first one on the list is actually one of his most recent ones, in the build-up to this World Cup itself. It was a group game of the World Cup Qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland, and Portugal was expected to get going after a draw vs Serbia and unconvincing wins against Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.

But both Ronaldo and Portugal started the game on a terrible note, as one of the most reliable penalty takers ever saw his penalty saved by Ireland’s Gavin Bazunu. And the night became worse for the home crowd as Ireland had opened the scoring on the brink of half-time. It looked to be one of those frustrating nights for Portugal, as the second was equally frustrating. Ireland had almost thought that they got the win.

But then stepped up the Portuguese captain in typical fashion. He scored the equalizer in the 89th minute with a brilliant header and made up for his earlier penalty miss. But a goal and a draw were never going to be enough for this mentality monster. He went on to score another header off a hit and hope cross from Joao Mario in the 96th minute and snatched the three points off Ireland’s fingertips.

Ireland isn’t a big team. Qualifying stages aren’t a huge deal for a team like Portugal. But in hindsight, after looking at Portugal’s struggle to qualify, we can say that the Portuguese and every Ronaldo fan around the world needed this goal.