Cristiano Ronaldo Made His Debut for the National Team 20 Years Ago

By Score More

It was on another 20th, August 20, 2003, in Chaves, against Kazakhstan, in a friendly match that ended 1-0 in favor of the Portuguese (scored by Simão Sabrosa in the 65th minute).

At just 18 years old and shortly after confirming his transfer to Manchester United, Ronaldo was brought on by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari at halftime.

20 years later, the captain of the National Team is the all-time leading scorer worldwide for national teams: he has scored 123 goals for Portugal in 200 games. In total, 15,678 minutes.

The President of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), Fernando Gomes, praised his longevity.

“It’s a fantastic achievement, I would say much more than a historic milestone of 20 years in service of the Portuguese national team. It’s impressive that an athlete of Cristiano’s caliber has been at the highest level for so long and has done so in a truly impressive manner,” he highlighted to FPF media.

“These 20 years in which he has been at the top of his career for the national team were 20 years of indisputable sporting success for the Portuguese national team itself, culminating as we all know with the conquest of Euro 2016 and the Nations League in 2019,” he recalled.

The President of the FPF remembered one of the most memorable moments: “He’s truly an exceptional athlete, with talent, quality, and professionalism above average, and he has given us images of quality throughout these 20 years. What, to me, was the pinnacle of his performance was the playoff game against Sweden in Stockholm in 2013 [scored 3 goals in the 3-2 victory that took Portugal to the 2014 World Cup], but throughout these 20 years, he has consistently treated us to his contribution to what is truly a season of affirmation for Portuguese football on the European and world levels.”

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