Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughRonaldo prepares for landmark century of caps (Video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Ronaldo prepares for landmark century of caps (Video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Ronaldo prepares for landmark century of caps (Video)

Remarkably at the age of just 27, Cristiano Ronaldo is set to reach 100 appearances for Portugal in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland in Portugal. Such has been Ronaldo’s enduring brilliance at club level, it is easy to forget just how long the Real Madrid man has been on the international stage. Indeed, having made his debut in 2003, Ronaldo has since gone on to participate in three European Championships and two World Cups and though a trophy with his country has eluded him, he still thoroughly deserves all the acclaim he will receive on Tuesday night.

However, just why is there no fanfare surrounding Ronaldo as there was for say David Beckham’s 100th cap? Of course, in this modern age of international football, reaching 100 caps is not quite the achievement it once was. Indeed, given the vast amount of football played, there are some very average players indeed who have clocked up either over or close to a century of appearances for their country – Kevin Kilbane for the Republic of Ireland take note.

Some will point to Ronaldo’s relative lack of success on the international stage but a record of 37 goals from 99 appearances from a player who started off his career as a hardly prolific wideman represents a solid enough record. Indeed, Ronaldo may have disappointed at both Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, the latter of which was marked by some abysmally negative tactics from coach Carlos Queiroz. The 27-year-old shone at his first Euros in 2004 on home soil, would have won the award for best young player at the 2006 World Cup but for an internet campaign begun by England fans in protest against Ronaldo’s part in Wayne Rooney’s quarter final sending off between the two nations to hand the honour to Lukas Podolski, before lighting up the recent Euro 2012.

At the summer showpiece in Poland and Ukraine, Ronaldo scored three times as he threatened to individually take the competition by storm and as shown in the video below, memorably produced a quite outstanding performance to put Holland to the sword with two brilliantly taken goals in Portugal’s final group game. Ronaldo’s tournament may have ended in disappointment as Portugal’s semi-final penalty shoot-out with Spain was decided before the Madrid number 7, as the fifth and final penalty taker, was due to step up, but for a week or so there was real speculation that Ronaldo could win the trophy for Portugal all on his own.

Adam Mazrani