By Philip O’Connor
STOCKHOLM, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Cristiano Ronaldo has set his sights on Ali Daei’s record of 109 international goals following a double in Portugal’s 2-1 Nations League win away to Sweden that saw him reach 101 goals for his country since his debut in 2004.
Having missed Portugal’s Nations League opener against Croatia on Saturday with a toe injury, Ronaldo wasted no time on his return, scoring a first-half free kick and adding a second from open play in the 72nd minute to close in on Iranian Daei’s record.
“I managed to beat this milestone of 100 goals and now (I’ll go) for the record. It’s step-by-step. I am not obsessed because I believe the records come in a natural way,” Ronaldo said.
“When I had this problem in my toe I always knew that I could recover for this second game. I like to be here, with this group of players, coach, staff and knew that they would play well in the first game as our squad is too good and no one is irreplaceable,” added the 35-year-old.
Having netted five times in his previous encounters against the Swedes, only a fool would have bet against him writing more history in the Swedish capital.
“Yesterday he scored six or seven (free kicks) like that in training and today it went exactly the same way. It’s so good to have Cristiano on the team,” Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes said.
Ronaldo forced another fine save from keeper Robin Olsen before leaving the fray in the 81st minute to be replaced by Diogo Jota, his thoughts moving quickly on to his next task.
“The future, only God knows. I am happy to play with these young players and I am enjoying a lot this moment both individually and collectively,” he said.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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