Ronaldo Nets Hat Trick, Passes Pele for All-Time International Goals

Ronaldo scores hat-trick

The Portuguese, powered by a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, routed Faroe Islands 5-1 while France cruised 4-0 past the Netherlands.

Ronaldo scored the opening goal inside three minutes before adding another from the penalty spot shortly before the half-hour mark.

With 23 minutes gone in the second period, Paulinho found himself unmarked at a corner and he had enough time to bring the ball down and hammer it into the roof of the net from eight metres out.

Pele, who shot to global fame as a 17-year-old in 1958 when Brazil when their first World Cup, scored 77 goals for the Selecao during his illustrious career and had always been considered the greatest of all time along with Diego Maradona before Ronaldo and Lionel Messi emerged.

It was Ronaldo's fifth hat-trick for his country, all of which have come in official qualifiers for major tournaments.

Ronaldo netted twice in the first half and then against in the second half to reach 14 goals in seven Group B games.

Ronaldo is now level with Iraq goal machine Hussein Saeed. The three goals took his tally to 78 goals and stands six goals behind former Hungary striker Ferenc Puskas.

At 32, Ronaldo is still 31 goals behind Iran's Ali Daei, who is the all-time leading global goal-scorer, but many would not bet against the Portuguese from achieving that milestone.

Now having moved ahead of Pele, Ronaldo is eyeing the record for the most worldwide goals scored by a European player, a record which is held by Hungary legend Puskas (84 goals).

Brazil's ninth consecutive qualifying victory gave the Selecao an 11-point lead at the top of the standings with three games to play, meaning they can not be overhauled.

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