Ali Daei on Cristiano Ronaldo breaking his international goalscoring record: ‘I admire his commitment and focus’

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to break Ali Daei’s international goals record (Picture: Getty)

The joint-leading goalscorer in the history of men’s international football, Ali Daei, insists he is ‘delighted’ it will be Cristiano Ronaldo who breaks his record as he ‘admires his commitment and focus’.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo equalled Daei’s record after scoring twice for Portugal in their 2-2 draw with World Cup champions France at Euro 2020.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United forward scored his 108th and 109th goals, both from the penalty spot, as Portugal qualified for the knockout stages of the tournament as one of the best third-placed teams.

Ronaldo has the chance to surpass Daei and secure another piece of history from his stunning career on Sunday when Portugal face Belgium in the last 16.

On the prospect of losing his record to Ronaldo, Iran legend Daei told The Times: ‘I am delighted that Ronaldo will be the one who is doing it, because my record being touched by a player like Ronaldo feels like another record to me.

‘I admire his commitment and focus. And after reaching so many titles, his passion for the game is like on day one.’

Ronaldo became the all-time top goalscorer in European Championships history last week and already has five goals in three matches at Euro 2020.

Iran legend Ali Daei is ‘delighted’ it is Ronaldo who will break his record (Picture: Getty)

Despite the 36-year-old’s heroics, Portugal only just sneaked into the last-16 with one win, one draw and one defeat from the group stage.

On Sunday, they will face a Belgium team who are yet to drop any points in the tournament and have conceded just one goal.

Roberto Martinez’s Belgium have also had 48 hours more rest than Portugal but manager Fernando Santos says the Euro holders will not make any excuses ahead of the last-16 tie.

‘It is not a disadvantage,’ he said. ‘Rest is very important, we have to recover so that they are fresh. We cannot use this as a handicap.

‘Let’s see if there have been any changes in Belgium, let’s analyse the team and prepare for the game with the usual goal: to move forwards.’

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