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Cristiano overtakes Pelé in international goals

His hat trick against the Faroe Islands took his tally to 78, surpassing the 77 goals 'O Rei' scored for Brazil between 1957 and 1971.

Cristiano overtakes Pelé in international goals

Cristiano Ronaldo took just over an hour to fire a hat trick past Faroe Islands keeper Gunnar Nielsen in tonight's 2018 World Cup qualifier - his first competitive outing of the new season. It brought up his 78th goal at full international level, and means he has now overtaken the great Pelé in the ranking of all-time top goals scored at national team level.

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Pelé, 77 goals in 92 internationals

Cristiano opened the scoring for Portugal with an overhead kick just three minutes into this evening's game. He added a second from the penalty spot on 29 minutes and completed his hat trick on 64 minutes - that goal taking past O Rei in the all-time scoring charts in full international matches. Pelé, the Brazil national team's maximum goal scorer, netted 77 times between his debut against Argentina in July 1957 until his last goal for the Seleção against Austria in his penultimate international in July 1971. 

Cristiano has reached 78 goals in 144 appearances for Portugal. Unlike Pelé, he didn't score on his international debut - his first goal came on home soil at EURO 2004, an stoppage-time strike against eventual champions Greece. Tonight's hat trick was his fifth for Portugal, and the 48th of his career.

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All-time top goal scorers at full international level

109 - Ali Daei (Iran)

84 - Ferenc Puskás (Hungary)

80* - Kunishige Kamamoto (Japan)

79 - Godfrey Chitalu (Zambia)

78 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

77 - Pelé (Brazil)

75 - Bashar Abdullah (Kuwait)

* Kamamoto scored 75 goals at full international level but in 2015 the Japanese Football Association decided that the five goals he scored for Japan in qualifying for the 1968 Olympic Games were valid. FIFA agreed and amended their own statistics in 2015.


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