Brazil legend Pele has set Cristiano Ronaldo a target to match his own prolific goalscoring record.
The Real Madrid forward took his international tally to 77 with a hat-trick for Portugal against the Faroe Islands, matching Pele’s total, although in considerably more appearances.
Pele, however, has heaped praise on Ronaldo, particularly for his spectacular scissor kick goal in victory over the Faroe Islands.
“I saw the goal, It was really special,” Pele told Goal. “It was a really nice play.”
Pele reached his Brazil total in just 92 games, helping his nation to three world cups along the way. Ronaldo, meanwhile, has played 145 times for Portugal, last year winning the European Championship.
But Pele has admitted that football is in a very different state now than back in his most successful days as a player.
“Of course, these are different times,” he said. “But the beautiful thing about football is the goals. And I take this opportunity to send a big greeting to Cristiano Ronaldo for that victory.”
But he couldn’t resist adding: “Now he has to score more than 1,283 goals!”
Ronaldo found it more difficult in Portugal’s last outing, a 1-0 win against Hungary in which he was fortunate to avoid a red card for a petulant kick late in the second half.
Portugal now trail group leaders Switzerland by three points with just two games of the World Cup qualifying campaign remaining. Yet after the game, manager Fernando Santos admitted that his side had not convinced in victory over Hungary.
“We were by far the best team on the pitch for the first 30 minutes,” he said. “At the interval I told them not to lose their focus. We came back very well afterwards and we scored the goal and from then on we had control of the game, but it was always a dangerous situation.”