Iranian legend Ali Daei explained why he believes it will be Cristiano Ronaldo, not Lionel Messi, who breaks his long-standing international scoring record.
While Messi remained in Barcelona, Ronaldo was on target for Portugal again during the international break. Two strikes against Luxembourg and Ukraine took his tally up to an impressive 95 goals to leave him just 14 goals shy of Ali Daei’s 109 for Iran.
The Juventus star’s penalty in Ukraine also saw him become only the sixth player in history to reach the 700 career goal-mark.
And Daei, who never managed that feat himself, accepts it’s only a matter of time before Ronaldo takes the record that he himself has held since November 2003.
“I am very proud of this world record as long as it lasts, and I think it’s the same for all the Iranian people,” Daei told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“They are happy with what I have achieved in my career. In fact, the record does not belong to me, but to all my people.
“I won’t be disappointed because records are meant to be broken. It will happen sooner or later: I am happy that such a great player will surpass me.
“I really like him and the way he moves in the field. Ronaldo is still in top form, I consider him in the top three ever. I can only wish him the best.”
Unlike Ronaldo, though, Messi has never quite shined in the same way he does on a weekly basis for Barcelona.
Nevertheless, the 32-year-old has still done well for Argentina having collected a record 68 goals in 136 appearances. Although he’s failed to inspire the national team to any silverware since debuting in 2005.
Ronaldo, on the other hand, has led Portugal to the European and Nations League titles in the last three years.
Therefore, Daei is certain the Portuguese legend will be the one to snatch his record and even tipped him to end Juventus’ 23-year wait for Champions League glory.
“Ronaldo has made a contribution to his country’s improvement in the recent years while Lionel Messi failed to do that with Argentina. This is why I think that he will break my record,” continued Daei.
“The challenge of winning the UEFA Champions League is, perhaps, even more difficult than the goal record in the national team.
“There are other great teams with the same ambition, but Juventus with Cristiano is one of those with more chances to make it.”
The former Bayern Munich striker, who retired in 2007, now runs a clothing and sports equipment business in Iran.