‘That’s an obscene record!’: Gary Neville salutes former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo after his brace saw him reach 106 goals for his country in Portugal’s 3-0 win over Hungary
The 36-year-old scored twice after the 87th minute in his country’s 3-0 victory over the hostile Hungarians, in front of a 61,000 capacity crowd in Budapest to get defending champions Portugal off to a winning start at Euro 2020.
Ronaldo netted a penalty before rounding off a team move, with Neville praising the forward’s ability to be both the best player on the pitch and the perfect team player.
Gary Neville hailed Cristiano Ronaldo after he broke the European Championships goal record
The 36-year-old scored twice in Portugal’s last-gasp 3-0 win over Hungary at Euro 2020
The pundit told ITV Sport: ‘It’s an obscene record. 106 goals for his country is absolutely ridiculous. He just continues to beat individual record after individual record.
‘We said before the game that players, when they do interviews, refer to the team. He does refer to the team always, but he wants to be the best player in the world and seen as one of the greatest of all time, in terms of scoring more goals than anyone. He’ll go and do it.’
Neville and Ronaldo were team-mates at Manchester United between 2004 and 2009 with the club winning multiple Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League trophy.
Neville praised Ronaldo’s ability to be the best player on the pitch and a good team player
The former England right-back saw first-hand how Ronaldo went from Red Devils squad player to one of the greatest footballers of all time, having won titles at Real Madrid, Juventus and Portugal.
Neville insisted he is running out of superlatives to describe his former team-mate, who he praised for changing his style of game to suit his age.
The former United defender added: ‘His physical shape is absolutely incredible. He’s adapted from someone who sprinted from the left wing and the right wing.
‘Now he’s not doing as much running in games, he’s not as explosive, but he’s just basically a poacher. You wouldn’t traditionally think of him as a centre forward, but he’s actually now just a striker. He’s a brilliant goal scorer. There’s no words left for him, really.’
Neville also praised his former United team-mate for changing his scoring style due to his age
Former Manchester City and Holland midfielder Nigel de Jong claimed the ‘machine’ that is Ronaldo can carry on playing for several years due to his physique and his hunger for goals.
De Jong said: ‘You’ve got to give credit where credit is due. People always like to talk about his age and what he’s doing for his domestic clubs, but as long as he’s in this form, and he can be so important for his club and his country, why let him retire from professional football?
‘The man’s a machine. He’s relentless and hungry for goals. Even when you don’t see him in games, he’s always a potential threat.
Nigel de Jong claimed Ronaldo can keep playing for several years due to his physique
‘He waited long for his two goals today. Kudos to him, great achievement. It’s just a matter of time for when he’s going to break it.’
Victory for Portugal boosted their chances of getting out of Group F, also known as the ‘Group of Death’ – which has France and Germany also in the group.
Hungary halted Portugal for 84 minutes before Raphael Guerreiro scored a deflected effort, just minutes after substitute Szabolcs Schon had a goal disallowed for offside.
Ronaldo then netted a penalty after Willi Orban brought down substitute Rafa Silva, before the Portugal captain rounded off a team move to tap home in stoppage time.
The 36-year-old had earlier missed a sitter in the first-half, blazing over from the six-yard line after Bruno Fernandes’ testing cross.
Ronaldo’s brace has given Portugal a great chance of getting out of the Group of Death