"This is the clear and irrevocable proof that he is the best player in the world." That was the message from Portugal head coach Fernando Santos after Cristiano Ronaldo's four-goal display.

Ronaldo became the all-time leading scorer in European Championship qualifiers with 25 goals after leading Portugal past Lithuania 5-1 on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old superstar was unstoppable in the Euro 2020 Group B qualifying clash in Vilnius, where he celebrated his eighth Portugal hat-trick while improving his international tally to 93 goals.

A five-time Ballon d'Or winner among numerous other honours in a remarkable career, Ronaldo's standing in the game is often debated alongside Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.

But Portugal boss Santos has no doubt as to who the best player in the world is following another memorable Ronaldo display.

"This is the clear and irrevocable proof that he is the best player in the world," Santos said following the Euro 2020 qualifying rout away from home.

"There is no stadium in the world where Ronaldo is not applauded," Santos added. "He is the best in the world.

"We went to Paris in my first game, and the hotel in France was just across the street. There were a thousand people at our door."

Santos continued: "I think it's strange when he doesn't score. They say it is ending ... Nothing is ending. You have to be careful because it never ends."

Cristiano Ronaldo said he does not live thinking about individual prizes after being asked about the Ballon d'Or following his stunning four-goal haul for Portugal in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Ronaldo made history as his four goals led European champions Portugal to a 5-1 rout of Lithuania in Tuesday's Group B clash in Vilnius.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner became the all-time leading scorer in European Championship qualifiers after improving his tally to 25 goals, surpassing Robbie Keane.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo also took his international record to 93 goals after scoring his eighth hat-trick for Fernando Santos' Portugal.

Ronaldo – who is on the final shortlist for FIFA's The Best award – was asked about his chances of winning a sixth Ballon d'Or and the 34-year-old said: "As I always say, I don't live thinking about individual prizes.

"This is a consequence of what we collectively won. But it's good, I won't lie. The important thing was to help the team.

"I scored a goal against Serbia and four here and I'm very happy We have to dismiss this moment and what I want most is to continue like this."

Ronaldo scored 21 Serie A goals last season – and 28 in all competitions – as Juventus won an eighth consecutive Scudetto.

This season, Ronaldo has already scored once for Juventus, who are level on points with Inter and Torino atop the Serie A table.

Cristiano Ronaldo added another record to his collection after becoming the all-time leading goalscorer in European Championship qualifiers.

Ronaldo, 34, scored four goals as Portugal routed Lithuania 5-1 in Euro 2020 qualifying to take his tally to 25 goals.

It moved the Juventus superstar ahead of Robbie Keane, who netted 23 goals in European qualifying during his international career for the Republic of Ireland.

Keane had even jokingly begged the Portugal star to leave this record with him, writing on Instagram: "I think you have enough records @cristiano."

But within seven minutes Ronaldo had his first of the night from the penalty spot before adding three further goals to take his overall international tally to 93.

Ronaldo further strengthened his position as Europe's all-time leading international scorer, with footballing great Ferenc Puskas nine behind.

It was also Ronaldo's eighth international hat-trick for the reigning European champions and Nations League winners.

Cristiano Ronaldo is "enjoying this moment" after scoring four times to lead Portugal to a 5-1 thrashing of Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying on Tuesday.

Ronaldo starred for the reigning European champions in the Group B clash in Vilnius, taking his tally to 93 international goals.

The 34-year-old was happy for his team after the huge win lifted second-placed Portugal onto eight points.

"I'm having a good time, but the team was doing very well too," Ronaldo told reporters.

"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."

After back-to-back draws to start their campaign, Portugal recorded much-needed wins over Serbia and Lithuania.

Ronaldo feels Portugal – in second spot and holding a game in hand – are closing in on a place at next year's showpiece tournament.

"The hardest thing was winning in Serbia, and it was important to continue with a triumph here," he said.

"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."

Portugal host Luxembourg and visit group leaders Ukraine next month.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored four to take his international tally to 93 goals as Portugal claimed a 5-1 win over Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying on a night to forget for goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus.

With Ronaldo's early penalty having been cancelled out by Vytautas Andriuskevicius before half-time, Setkus was guilty of a blooper when he fumbled a strike from the Juventus forward to again hand this year's Nations League winners the advantage.

Ronaldo soon added two more before William Carvalho added a late fifth to seal the win over Group B's bottom side.

Second-placed Portugal moved within five points of leaders Ukraine, who they have a game in hand on, with the victory.

 

The visitors got off to the perfect start when they were handed a seventh-minute penalty after Markus Palionis was penalised for blocking Joao Felix's cross with his hand.

Ronaldo made no mistake as he kept his cool from the penalty spot, firing low into the bottom-right corner to add to the goal he scored in Saturday's win over Serbia.

Portugal continued to look a threat and Jose Fonte and Ronaldo both saw efforts saved by Setkus.

And the reigning European champions were left rueing those missed chances in the 28th minute when Andriuskevicius rose highest to head Mantas Kuklys' outswinging corner in off the post.

Then, somewhat inevitably, it fell to Ronaldo to turn the match back in Portugal's favour once more - but he had more than a helping hand from Lithuania goalkeeper Setkus.

What appeared a routine strike from Ronaldo from the edge of the area with 61 minutes on the clock was fumbled by the goalkeeper before spinning up and bouncing in off his back.

Ronaldo then made certain of the points four minutes later when he swept home Bernardo Silva's right-wing delivery before the pair combined again in the 76th minute, with the ex-Real Madrid player finding the bottom-right corner from inside the box. 

Carvalho added further gloss in added time with a smart finish after the ball fell kindly to him inside the penalty area.

 

What does it mean? Portugal have fate in own hands but still have work to do

They might be the reigning champions and winners of the Nations League but Portugal still have work to do to seal automatic qualification.

This win keeps them second but leaders Ukraine remain in charge of the group and Serbia, in third, trail them by just a point.

Ronaldo still the man

It should come as no real surprise. Another season ticks by and, even now at 34, still Ronaldo continues to be the man for club and country.

Joao Felix might be the heir apparent but Ronaldo remains the one who makes Portugal tick.

Sympathy for Setkus 

The Lithuania goalkeeper is unlikely to make a bigger blunder in his career. It was just unfortunate it came on the international stage.

He should not, however, be the scapegoat for what, in all likelihood, was an inevitable loss anyway - and the score would have been even higher but for a string of saves he made.

What's next?

Portugal face Luxembourg in what will be viewed as another must-win match, while group leaders Ukraine - who also face the Euro 2016 winners in October - await Lithuania.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was in sensational form as Greece booked their place in the FIBA World Cup second round, while the United States completed a clean sweep in Group E.

Greece won a qualification shoot-out against New Zealand 103-97 to follow Brazil out of Group F, the South American side making it three straight victories by overcoming Montenegro 84-73.

After needing overtime to see off Turkey last time out, Team USA were back on song as they hammered Japan 98-45.

Australia and France booked top spot in their respective groups with wins over Lithuania and Dominican Republic, while Germany and Canada got off the mark.

 

USA BACK ON TRACK

Team USA had five players in double figures for scoring as they comfortably saw off Japan in Shanghai.

Jaylen Brown had a game-high 20 points and Kemba Walker added 15 and eight assists in a routine victory for Gregg Popovich's side.

They will face tricky encounters against Greece and Brazil in the second round.

Turkey were unable to follow the USA out of Group E, as Czech Republic advanced at their expense courtesy of a 91-76 victory in their meeting.

 

GIANNIS GETS GREECE GOING

Having struggled to make his mark in Greece's opening two matches, Antetokounmpo ensured their campaign in China was not derailed in their first-round finale.

The Milwaukee Bucks forward posted a brilliant 24 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals to ensure Corey Webster's 31 points for New Zealand came in vain.

Defeat for the Tall Blacks meant rivals Australia qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games as the best ranked team from Oceania.

 

HISTORY FOR AUSTRALIA

The Boomers made it three straight wins at the start of a World Cup campaign for the first time in their history with an 87-82 victory over Lithuania.

Aron Baynes contributed 21 points and 13 assists for his first double-double in the competition, while Patty Mills scored 23 off eight-of-16 shooting.

The victory ensured Australia topped Group H ahead of Lithuania, with Nick Nurse's Canada taking third following an 82-60 defeat of Senegal.

Cory Joseph was key to Canada's success, combining 24 points with three assists and two steals.

United States began their FIBA World Cup title defence with an 88-67 defeat of Czech Republic, while Australia earned a memorable win over Canada.

The defending champions were made to work before claiming a comfortable victory in Group E, where there was a win for Turkey over Japan.

New Zealand pushed Brazil close, but lost out in a 102-94 epic, with Giannis Antetokounmpo shining as Greece beat Montenegro.

France edged out Germany by four points and it was equally as close between the Dominican Republic and Jordan, although Lithuania thrashed Senegal 101-47.

USA UP AND RUNNING

USA were sluggish at times in their opener in Shanghai, but the world's best side ultimately had too much for the Czech Republic to cope with.

Chicago Bulls player Tomas Satoransky was bright for the Czechs, but USA had scoring options throughout the side – Donovan Mitchell, Harrison Barnes and Kemba Walker getting into double figures.

Gregg Popovich's side were disciplined in possession, making just seven turnovers, while Walker was the player of the match, adding four assists and a steal to his 13 points.

RECORD-BREAKING BOOMERS

Australia started their campaign by amassing more than100 points in a World Cup match for the first time since 1990 as the Boomers ran out 108-92 winners over Canada.

Joe Ingles ran the show for Australia, providing 10 assists – the most in a game by an Australian player since assists became part of the box score in 1994.

Matthew Dellavedova lead the way in terms of points, scoring a game-high 24 as Australia made a statement of intent in Group H.

However, the Boomers' win was not enough to earn them top spot, as Lithuania made light work of Senegal.

FINE MARGINS IN GROUP G

France and Germany's only previous World Cup encounter ended 75-73 and Sunday's meeting proved a similarly tight encounter.

It finished 78-74 to France – Evan Fournier starring for the winners with a 26-point haul.

Despite going 14-0 down, Germany fought back to keep within touching distance, and even though Fournier gave his country a 76-70 lead with 32.5 seconds remaining, there was still time for a grandstand finish, France just holding firm.

Elsewhere in Group G, the Dominican Republic overcame Jordan 80-76 in a thrilling contest in Shenzhen.

GIANNIS MAKES HIS MARK FOR GREECE

Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo needed just 16 minutes to show his world-class quality as the NBA star turned on the style to help Greece beat Montenegro.

Antetokounmpo netted 10 points and clocked up eight rebounds in the 85-60 victory in Group F.

Brazil are second in the group, after coming out on top against New Zealand.

The Tall Blacks mounted a late charge following a third-quarter blitz from Brazil but could not muster enough to complete the comeback.

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