Jose Mourinho has predicted Cristiano Ronaldo will still be scoring goals at 50 after his latest record-breaking exploits.
Ronaldo struck four times in Portugal’s 5-1 win over Lithuania on Tuesday night to break Robbie Keane’s record for most goals in European Championship qualifiers.
The Juventus star – who played under Mourinho at Real Madrid – has now struck 94 times for his country and is showing no signs of slowing up.
Mourinho has hailed the five-time Balon d’Or winner as a “phenomenon” – and predicted he will never stop scoring goals even after retirement as he tipped him to become a top performer in exhibition matches involving legends after he hangs up his boots.
“What Cristiano does does not surprise me,” Mourinho told Portuguese TV channel 11. “At 34, he is a top player, who plays in a top team and has top ambitions.
“It does not surprise me because he is a case study in genetic terms, and mentality as well.
“He is a phenomenon, someone who only thinks about winning and doing it more and more and better. That is why I am not surprised at all what he does.
“When he is 50 years old he will be at home and FIFA will invite him to a game of legends. He will play the game and score a goal. I am sure it will be like that.”
Ronaldo revealed the success of Portgual in recent years is fuelling his passion to continue playing international football after his latest stunning showing.
Speaking after their Lithuania win, which marked a major step towards qualifying for Euro 2020, he said: “I’m having a good time, but the team was doing very well too.
“I am happy and enjoying this moment, not because I scored the goals, but because of the level we have been able to demonstrate in recent years.
“It is up to me to continue helping the national team.
“The hardest thing was winning in Serbia, and it was important to continue with a triumph here.
“We are closer, we have two games – one at home and one away – and I think if we win one of those matches it’s enough.”