Cristiano Ronaldo brought up 1,000 career appearances in Juventus' trip to SPAL in Serie A on Saturday.

A hero for Portugal, Sporting CP, Manchester United and Real Madrid across a decorated career, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has racked up a succession of impressive landmarks.

And there have been plenty of moments of magic that live long in the memory along the way.

Here, we take a look back at 10 of Ronaldo's very best goals.

 

Manchester United v Portsmouth: January 30, 2008

Perhaps the finest free-kick Ronaldo has struck in his career.

The Portuguese developed his reputation as a set-piece master at United and he lashed a phenomenal 25-yard effort past David James as part of a double to send Alex Ferguson's side to the top of the Premier League.

His knuckleball technique sent the ball swirling into the top-right corner for one of his defining Old Trafford moments.

 

Porto v Manchester United: April 15, 2009

He had absolutely no right to score this one.

Back in his homeland for a Champions League quarter-final against Porto, Ronaldo picked up the ball in the middle of the opposition half, got it out of his feet and sent a searing strike flying past Helton to seal a 1-0 win at the Estadio do Dragao and a 3-2 aggregate triumph.

 

Almeria v Real Madrid: April 15, 2010

Ronaldo has developed into more of a penalty-box poacher in recent seasons, but this effort against Almeria was a reminder of how devastating he could be when starting from outside the area.

Rafael van der Vaart won back possession in the Almeria half and the ball was worked to Ronaldo, who accelerated past two challenges, left a third defender for dead with a stepover, and drilled home with his left foot. The visitors would go on to win 2-1.

 

Sevilla v Real Madrid: December 17, 2011

Sevilla have grown sick of the sight of Ronaldo – he has scored 27 times against them, after all – but this strike in a 6-2 thrashing is perhaps the best of them all.

Collecting Karim Benzema's pass 30 yards out, Ronaldo took advantage of the time and space given to him by the defence to blast a shot into the top-right corner, the swerve on the ball making it totally unstoppable. It was one of three he scored that day at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

 

Real Madrid v Valencia: May 4, 2014

It was not enough to keep Madrid's title chase alive, but this was another goal that showcased Ronaldo's killer instinct and dexterity.

In second-half injury time, with Valencia 2-1 ahead, Angel Di Maria volleyed over a cross from the left and Ronaldo swivelled to score a backheel volley and snatch a point.

 

Real Madrid v Espanyol: January 31, 2016

Although his game had become more refined from those buccaneering early days, Ronaldo showed here he was not quite done when it came to solo runs and spectacular finishes.

With Madrid already 3-0 up in what would prove to be a 6-0 thrashing, James Rodriguez's pass was deflected into Ronaldo's path and he did the rest, showing brilliant footwork to skip beyond three challenges before rifling home from the edge of the area with his left foot.

 

Hungary v Portugal: June 22, 2016

Portugal fell behind to Hungary three times in Lyon during Euro 2016, and Ronaldo brought them level on the second occasion with a display of fine skill.

The captain added a deft flick with his trailing leg to Joao Mario's right-wing cross to make it 2-2, and he cancelled out Balazs Dzsudzsak's second with a double of his own. It was enough to send Portugal into the knockout stages and from there they went on to claim a maiden international title.

 

Juventus v Real Madrid: April 3, 2018

Arguably the best goal Ronaldo has produced.

Moving away from goal as Dani Carvajal dug a cross towards the penalty spot from the right, he rose into the air to connect with a marvellous overhead kick. His leg was at a right angle to his body as he struck with the sweetest of volleys that flew past Gianluigi Buffon.

 

Portugal v Spain: June 15, 2018

Having twice given his side the lead, Ronaldo found Portugal 3-2 down to their Iberian neighbours in their thrilling opener at the 2018 World Cup.

The was a sense of inevitability when he stood over an 88th minute free-kick, but the execution was sheer perfection – power and dip combined to leave David de Gea with no chance.

 

Juventus v Manchester United: November 8, 2018

Another decorated Portuguese was celebrating at full-time when Jose Mourinho watched his Manchester United team complete a 2-1 comeback win.

But Ronaldo struck first with a sumptuous and technically brilliant strike, watching Leonardo Bonucci's raking ball over his shoulder to volley home.  

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to make his 1,000th appearance for club and country when Juventus face SPAL in Serie A on Saturday.

The Portugal superstar was named in Maurizio Sarri's starting XI after being rested for the 2-0 win over Brescia last weekend.

Providing the 35-year-old comes through the warm-up unscathed, he will bring up his incredible landmark and seek to add to his tally of 724 goals. 

It will be the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's 73rd outing for Juve, with the bulk of his matches having come for Real Madrid (438).

Manchester United sit second on that list (292), with 31 of his games coming for Sporting CP, a further two for Sporting B and 164 for his country. 

At long last, one of the more wearisome transfer sagas of the past 12 months is nearing conclusion – Manchester United announced they have agreed a fee with Sporting CP for Bruno Fernandes.

It seemed for a while that Fernandes would join United in pre-season, but, despite their seemingly obvious need for midfield reinforcements, a move never materialised and he remained with Sporting.

Speculation began to stir again last month, and the two clubs are said to have been locked in talks for much of January – though reports of Barcelona apparently hoping to sign Fernandes in order to use him in negotiations with Valencia for Rodrigo Moreno surfaced earlier this week.

Whether or not that story was a ploy by an agent to jolt United into decisive action, who knows? But something seemed to change this week, as the Red Devils finally reached an agreement with Sporting.

Fernandes had a massive impact at the club during his two-and-a-half-year spell, becoming captain and scoring or setting up 67 Primeira Liga goals in 83 appearances.

United certainly don't have a 100 per cent hit-rate when it comes to signings from Portugal – below, we examined whether their previous imports from the Iberian nation have been misses or not.

Cristiano Ronaldo (2003-2009) – HIT

The one that needs no introduction – Ronaldo was a revelation for United following his 2003 arrival from Sporting. The lanky teenager dazzled against United when they faced Sporting for the opening of their Jose Alvalade stadium and, as the story goes, those he tormented implored Alex Ferguson to sign him. So, he did. Outrageously skilful and flashy, early Ronaldo was as fun as they come, but after bulking out he developed a deadly streak, netting 31 times in the 2007-08 Premier League season and helping them to Champions League success. He has since gone on to mark himself out as one of the all-time greats with Real Madrid, Juventus and Portugal.

Bebe (2010-2014) – MISS

From Ferguson's best to arguably his worst signing. Despite the Scot never seeing him play, Bebe is said to have arrived following a recommendation from Ferguson's former right-hand man, Carlos Queiroz. United reportedly paid Vitoria Guimaraes £7.5m for the attacker, but he immediately looked short of the required ability. He somehow managed to last four years at the club, including three loan spells. Most of his career since has been spent in Spain, and he's now playing for Rayo Vallecano in La Segunda.

Nani (2007-2015) – HIT

Few players polarised opinion quite like Nani during his time at United. Undoubtedly capable of the spectacular, he also had his fair share of underwhelming performances and could be infuriatingly frustrating. Like Ronaldo, Nani arrived from Sporting and it was initially said he struggled with the pressure due to comparisons with his United and Portugal team-mate. But in 2010-11 he established himself, producing some spell-binding performances to earn himself a place in the PFA Team of the Year and the United Players' Player of the Year award. Injuries then took their toll before leaving in 2015, going on to have something of a nomadic career ever since, though he has become Portugal's fourth-highest capped international.

Anderson (2007-2015) – MISS

Oh, what might've been. There's little doubt Anderson was immensely talented, but throughout his time with United there were concerns about his fitness and professionalism. He probably wasn't helped by being turned into something resembling a holding midfielder, given he thrived in a more attacking role previously, but he generally failed to live up to expectations. That's not to say he was hopeless – he amassed almost 200 appearances for the club, but given the promise he showed in his youth, he failed to reach his potential. Aged 31, he retired in September following a spell with Adana Demirspor in Turkey's second tier.

Victor Lindelof (2017-present) – HIT

After an unconvincing debut season following a move from Benfica potentially worth £38m, Lindelof has generally settled well at United and become a first-choice centre-back. Comfortable on the ball and a good reader of the game, the Sweden international is mostly dependable. Nevertheless, he's certainly not the perfect defender – he's not especially quick and does appear to struggle with physical forwards. So far, he can just about be regarded a 'hit', but United will surely be hoping for an improvement from him.

Marcos Rojo (2014-present) – MISS

Rojo always looked a somewhat puzzling addition, and those initial feelings have never really gone away. Technically able and versatile enough to play either centre-back or on the left, Rojo also relishes a physical tussle. But as something of a hot-head, Rojo has a tendency to be rash. Even Sporting fans were baffled when he joined United, who are said to have tried to sell him in almost every pre-season since buying the Argentina international. He now looks set to return to Estudiantes on loan.

Diogo Dalot (2018-present) – JURY'S OUT

Lauded as the best young full-back in the world by Jose Mourinho when he signed Dalot from his former club Porto in 2018, the Portugal Under-21 international is yet to prove that claim. He showed promise last season, with his ability on the ball and crossing earning acclaim, but he failed to hold down a spot at right-back despite United's concerning lack of quality in that position – Dalot's defensive capabilities proving unconvincing. The club then went out and splurged on Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Dalot, who has suffered numerous injuries, is undoubtedly talented, but a future as a regular at United might rely on him being converted into a winger.

Cristiano Ronaldo might have been criticised for some theatrics during his career, but the Juventus and Portugal star has revealed he wants to try his hand at acting for real.

The 34-year-old, who had something of a reputation for diving when he first joined Manchester United as a teenager, has already reached double figures in league goals for Juventus this campaign, the 14th straight season he has hit such a milestone.

Ronaldo therefore shows no signs of slowing down, though he admits he will retire when he is unable to perform the way he wants.

When that day comes, the forward will seek to realise his dream of making it big in Hollywood.

Speaking at the Dubai International Sports Conference, Ronaldo said: "Several years ago, the age of playing football was until 30 to 32, but now you find those who are 40 years old playing on the field.

"The moment my body is no longer responding in the right way on the field, then it would be the time to leave.

"I aspire to continue my studies after retiring from football.

"One of the things that I seek to challenge myself in, for example, is acting in a movie.

"I hope I live more than 50 years to learn new things and face different challenges and try to find solutions for them."

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has won Champions Leagues with both United and Real Madrid, and league titles in England, Spain and Italy.

The former Sporting CP forward, a European champion with Portugal in 2016 and a winner of the inaugural Nations League Finals this year, believes such sustained success is down to his drive.

"The love of football is the main motive in achieving all the titles I ever won," he added.

"There are no special miracles or secrets in my success story, or any other success story. Rather, it is a great dedication to what you do.

"At the age of 34, I still have that fitness through diligence and hard work to get titles."

Fernando Santos has claimed defending champions Portugal are outsiders in a Euro 2020 group containing "two favourites" in France and Germany.

The three heavyweights were drawn together in a tough-looking Group F for next year's tournament, with a play-off contestant still to be added.

France and Germany will enter as winners of the past two World Cups, while Portugal are preparing to defend the trophy they unexpectedly won in 2016.

Santos' side were also crowned inaugural Nations League champions in June but the wily 65-year-old coach quickly positioned his team as underdogs.

"It will be a strong group, two favourites and a candidate," Santos told reporters.

"[France and Germany] have a responsibility to win and they have to assume that responsibility. We will believe in our possibilities. We come as candidates and obviously we want to win.

"Two world champions, a European champion and winner of the Nations League – I think this is a group that nobody wanted because each team wanted to avoid the other two.

"Everyone will respect each other and just wait to see who will be the fourth."

Portugal finished second behind Ukraine in their qualifying group, losing once and drawing twice in eight games.

Didier Deschamps accepted France faced a huge test at Euro 2020 as Germany coach Joachim Low had no doubt Group F was the "group of death".

World champions France were drawn alongside Euro 2016 winners Portugal and Germany, plus a play-off winner, in the group on Saturday.

Deschamps acknowledged his team would be challenged in Group F, which will be played in Budapest and Munich.

"It's a difficult group, but I think that Joachim Low and Portugal head coach [Fernando Santos] think the same thing. It's the hardest group, but we have to accept it," he said.

"We will need to be ready at the beginning of the competition because our first game will be against Germany in Munich. They will play at home.

"On paper, it's a tough group. These two teams have many qualities and they recently had good results."

France's first match will be against Germany at the Allianz Arena on June 16 before playing two games in Budapest.

Deschamps said: "It could be better, but what can we do? Germany and Portugal are in our group. We know when we will play and where.

"We still have to wait to know our third opponent. But we already know the quality of two of our opponents. So we can prepare to be ready for the match day."

Low was surprisingly happy about getting the opportunity to play against France and Portugal, but said it was undoubtedly the toughest group.

"At first I feel joy because these are highlight games against France and Portugal. We play against the reigning world champions and European champions," the Germany coach said.

"I think the players are also looking forward to these games. Of course it's a group of death. Everyone in this group has to go to the limit if they want to get ahead.

"But I think that these games will be football festivals. Then we also play in Germany. I'm looking forward to it."

The last three European winners of major tournaments will play in the same pool at Euro 2020, after France, Portugal and Germany were all drawn together

Germany and France - victors at the respective 2014 and 2018 World Cups - will take on reigning European champions Portugal and a play-off winner in Group G.

Croatia, runners-up at last year's World Cup, will renew acquaintances with England, the side they beat in the semi-finals.

Here is the draw in full for next year's event, with four places in the finals still to be determined by the four path-winners in March's play-offs.

 

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, play-off winner from Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) or Romania if they win Path A.

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, play-off winner from Path C (Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia)

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, play-off winner from Path B (Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland)

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, play-off winner from Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary) or winner of Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) if Romania win Path A.

Holders Portugal will face world champions France and fellow heavyweights Germany in a daunting Group F at Euro 2020.

Saturday's draw in Bucharest pitted Fernando Santos' men and their talismanic captain Cristiano Ronaldo against the winners of the two World Cups either side of their Euro 2016 triumph.

It means Didier Deschamps' Bleus will have an opportunity for revenge after Portugal beat them on home soil at the Stade de France to lift the trophy.

The nation with the dubious pleasure of joining them is still to be determined. Iceland, Bulgaria or Hungary would claim the fourth spot if they progress through their play-off route in Path A.

However, if Romania are victorious in Path A, they will go into Group C with Netherlands, Ukraine and Austria.

In permutations that underline the convoluted and criticised format, one of Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo from play-off Path B would enter Group F if Romania qualify. Otherwise, the winner of Path B goes into Group C.

Italy open the tournament, which will take place across 12 host cities, when they entertain Turkey in Rome on June 12. Wales and Switzerland are also in Group A.

England and Croatia renew acquaintances at Wembley in Group D – Gareth Southgate's men having been sunk by a Mario Mandzukic winner in the semi-finals of Russia 2018 before progressing to the Nations League Finals at the expense of Zlatko Dalic's team.

There is the possibility of an all-British encounter if Scotland prevail from their play-off path alongside Israel, Norway and Serbia, while Czech Republic will meet England again in the finals having traded victories with the Three Lions during qualification.

Group B is the second group not waiting to see how play-off cards fall, with the world's number-one ranked team Belgium lining up alongside Denmark, Finland and Russia.

Spain are aiming to make it three European titles in four attempts after securing glory in 2008 and 2012.

They head up Group C, where the winner of the play-off route including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Slovakia and the Republic of Ireland will round out the line-up alongside Sweden and Poland.

The Euro 2020 play-offs take place during next March's international break.

The last three European winners of major tournaments will play in the same pool at Euro 2020, after France, Portugal and Germany were all drawn together

Germany and France - victors at the respective 2014 and 2018 World Cups - will take on reigning European champions Portugal and a play-off winner in Group G.

Croatia, runners-up at last year's World Cup, will renew acquaintances with England, the side they beat in the semi-finals.

Here is the draw in full for next year's event, with four places in the finals still to be determined by the four path-winners in March's play-offs.

 

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, play-off winner from Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) or Romania if they win Path A.

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, play-off winner from Path C (Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia)

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, play-off winner from Path B (Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland)

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, play-off winner from Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary) or winner of Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) if Romania win Path A.

Cristiano Ronaldo has made FIFA Ultimate Team's latest Team of the Week after moving onto 99 international goals for Portugal.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo is closing on Ali Daei's all-time world record of 109 after another four goals in the international break.

Ronaldo hit a ruthless hat-trick against Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying, before netting again against Luxembourg to nudge towards three figures.

He is joined in a thrilling FUT front three by Harry Kane and Eden Hazard.

Kane ended the qualifying campaign having netted in all eight matches, hitting 12 goals in total as the competition's leading scorer.

Hazard is struggling for Real Madrid but scored twice in Belgium's win at Russia, while midfielders Toni Kroos and John McGinn were rewarded for their own goalscoring exploits.

Nicolas Otamendi, often seen as a liability at Manchester City, earned a place with his performances for Argentina.

We take a look at the latest squad in full below.

FUT TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan) - 86

CB: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City) - 85

CB: Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 82

RB: Stefan Lainer (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 81

CM: Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid) - 84

CM: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) - 89

LM: Ole Kristian Selnaes (Shenzhen FC) - 81

CAM : John McGinn (Aston Villa) - 84

LW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Piemonte Calcio) - 94

LF: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) - 92

ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham) - 91

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Andre Onana (Ajax) - 84

LB: Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 81

RW: Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma) - 80

RM: Robert Skov (Hoffenheim) - 81

RW: Gerard Moreno (Villarreal) - 86

ST: Raul Jimenez (Wolves) - 83

ST: Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) - 81

RESERVES

CB: Scott Wharton (Northampton Town) - 74

CDM: Alex Kral (Spartak Moscow) - 80

ST: Famara Diedhiou (Bristol City) - 79

ST: Victor Osimhen (Lille) - 80

LW: Duvan Vergara (America de Cali) - 76

Cristiano Ronaldo insists there was nothing controversial about his recent substitutions for Juventus because he has been playing through the pain of a knee complaint.

Ronaldo appeared disgruntled when he was removed early in the second half of Juve's Serie A match against AC Milan last weekend, with replacement Paulo Dybala going on to score the only goal in a 1-0 win.

Head coach Maurizio Sarri explained afterwards that a bruised knee had hindered Ronaldo, who was also withdrawn during a preceding 2-1 Champions League triumph at Lokomotiv Moscow – another match where the five-time Ballon d'Or winner witnessed the winning goal from the sidelines.

Ronaldo retained his typically prolific form for Portugal during the international break, hitting a hat-trick in a 6-0 demolition of Lithuania before capping a 2-0 win in Luxembourg on Sunday that sealed qualification for Euro 2020 and moved him on to 99 goals for his country.

"For the last three weeks, I have been playing limited. There was no controversy, you create controversy," Ronaldo told reporters after the match at Stade Josy Barthel.

"I don't like to be replaced, but I have been playing limited for the last three weeks. I tried to help Juventus, even playing injured. 

"No one likes to be replaced, but I understand why – I was not well. I'm still not 100 per cent, but when it comes to sacrificing for the club or team I do it with pride because I know there were a lot of games up for grabs."

Ronaldo went on to outline the high stakes that persuade him to put his 34-year-old body on the line.

"At Juventus, Inter are putting on a lot of pressure [in Serie A]. We are two points ahead, but we can't go easy because if we draw or lose, they pass us and I sacrificed myself," he said.

"In the national team, if we didn't win one of our two games, we could be out. I also sacrificed myself for the national team. 

"I never had major injuries. I play 50 or 60 games a year, but at one time or another there may be an unforeseen event – it's a pain that keeps me from being 100 per cent. 

"I always try to help. They put a lot of controversy on this subject, but you know I don't talk much in the press. 

"We won. Juventus are in first place, we qualified and I will be 100 per cent as fast as possible."

Portugal endured a tougher outing than expected in Luxembourg, with Ronaldo's close-range strike sealing the points four minutes from time after a dismal playing surface served to compromise Fernando Santos' side.

"It is difficult to play on these pitches, a potato field," Ronaldo added witheringly.

"I don't know how it is possible for teams of this level to play on pitches of this quality. The game was not beautiful. 

"We did our job, it was the pitch where we had to play, we won 2-0 and that was the priority."

Fernando Santos expects Portugal to compete strongly for back-to-back European titles but does not think his defending champions are favourites heading into Euro 2020.

Goals from Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo – his 99th in international colours – secured a battling 2-0 win in Luxembourg on Sunday and made sure of Portugal's place in next year's tournament.

Santos' side only won one game inside 90 minutes as they ground their way to glory in France in 2016.

The emergence of Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, Ruben Neves and Fernandes, alongside the presence of the evergreen Ronaldo, arguably gives the veteran coach a far stronger squad than the one that won a maiden major international honour for the country.

However, much as Santos never talked down Portugal's Euro 2016 prospects, he was not about to play cheerleader.

"We are candidates at the Euros, we never assume as we are favourites," he told a post-match news conference.

"The Portuguese team has quality. When Portugal can gather creativity, quality and artistic notes, and at the same time realise that the game, at certain times, needs other things, [we are] practically unbeatable.

"It is not easy to beat Portugal, Portugal have all the conditions to be able to make a good European Championship. 

"The status is the same as always. When we went to Euro 2016, they said it was crazy when I said Portugal was a candidate."

A wretched playing surface at Stade Josy Barthel frustrated Portugal for long periods as they were unable to locate the free-flowing form that brushed aside Lithuania 6-0 on Thursday.

Ronaldo's expected canter towards a century of international goals never materialised, with a poached effort from on the goal line in the 86th minute all the Juventus star had to show for his efforts.

"It was not an exhibition with artistic notes, as it was against Lithuania," Santos said.

"Before the game we could not appreciate the situation of the pitch, but we were aware of how it was and the truth is that posed some problems, especially in the circulation of the ball.

"The players had difficulty getting their foot on the ball. For the first 20 minutes, we couldn't get the game right and Luxembourg are a team that presses well and are physically strong.

"From the 25th minute, things got more balanced, we started playing differently and scored the [Fernandes] goal.

"It was a tougher game than we expected but it showed the character and personality of these players."

Cristiano Ronaldo took his tally of international goals to 99 with a late tap-in as Portugal secured a place at Euro 2020 with a laboured 2-0 win over Luxembourg.

Ronaldo fell just short of becoming the second player in history to reach a century for his country after Iran's Ali Daei on an afternoon when he struggled on a slow pitch at Stade Jose Barthel, where the reigning European champions were made to work hard for the victory.

The creative endeavour of Bernardo Silva proved more of a threat than Ronaldo's presence and it was the Manchester City playmaker who teed up Bruno Fernandes to break the deadlock late in the first half of Sunday's Group B clash.

Thereafter Portugal offered little and those gathered at Stade Josy Barthel to see Ronaldo make history were instead treated to an impressive display from a side ranked 96th in the world by FIFA, but the Juventus talisman did manage to score from practically on the line with four minutes remaining.

Ronaldo gave Anthony Moris an easy save with a tame shot from 12 yards early on but it was not all one-way traffic, with Danilo Pereira and Fernandes leaving gaps in midfield that allowed Luxembourg to attack.

Maurice Deville and Gerson Rodrigues both headed narrowly over the crossbar and the hosts deserved credit for restricting Portugal's first-half chances, although they were powerless to stop Fernandes' opener.

The Sporting CP star deftly controlled Silva's weighted pass six minutes from half-time before putting his laces through the ball, hammering a shot into the bottom corner of Moris' net.

Jose Fonte headed just wide early in the second half but it was the hosts who played the better football without creating a clear scoring opportunity.

Fernandes was brought down by Olivier Thill with 13 minutes left, presenting Ronaldo with a free-kick on the edge of the box, but Portugal's all-time leading goalscorer blazed wide with an effort that looked set to sum up his afternoon.

That was until Moris parried Diogo Jota's effort from a Bernardo cross and Ronaldo helped the ball over the line to ensure his name was on the scoresheet.

What does it mean? Santos' men struggle for consistency

Portugal coach Fernando Santos can be pleased with his side's record of five wins, two draws and one defeat in qualifying, but after seeing them hammer Lithuania 6-0 on Thursday this performance offered a reminder of their occasional lack of fluency.

Bernardo copes with the quagmire

While Ronaldo under-hit passes and snatched at chances, Bernardo kept his composure to steer Portugal to victory, never more so than when he floated an exquisite pass to allow Fernandes to score.

Danilo off the pace

Luxembourg were not expected to make a close game of this but they found space in an around Portugal's box that a player of Danilo's quality should have been dominating.

What's next?

European Championship holders Portugal will be among the favourites at Euro 2020 with a coach who knows how to win it at the helm in Santos, while Luxembourg's impressive performance in this game will have done Luc Holtz's chances of remaining in charge no harm.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the world's best player and is always hungry for more, Portugal team-mate Mario Rui said.

Ronaldo inspired Portugal to a 6-0 thrashing of Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying on Thursday, scoring a hat-trick in the Group B win.

Mario Rui lauded his 34-year-old team-mate after Portugal moved a step closer to qualifying for next year's showpiece tournament.

"He is the best in the world, never tired of winning, wanting more, and it is this hunger that makes him what he is," the Napoli left-back said, via A Bola.

"We are happy to have him on the team and I hope he will continue to give us joy as he has done so far."

Pizzi, Goncalo Paciencia and Bernardo Silva also scored for Portugal, who are second in the group on 14 points, behind Ukraine (19) but ahead of Serbia (13).

Portugal can secure their place when they visit Luxembourg on Sunday and Mario Rui said a tough task awaited his side.

"Mathematically, we know it is not [guaranteed] yet," he said. "We will face a tough team, Luxembourg, we still had that confirmation with the result in Serbia [who won 3-2].

"We know it will be a very difficult game, but our goal is to be at Euro 2020 and we will try to bring all three points to Portugal."

Cristiano Ronaldo's fitness was never a doubt for Portugal coach Fernando Santos as the star forward scored a hat-trick in Thursday's 6-0 victory over Lithuania.

Ronaldo was far from a certain starter for the Euro 2020 qualifier at Estadio Algarve after being substituted in Juventus' last two matches.

Juve boss Maurizio Sarri attributed the early withdrawal against Milan last weekend to a bruised knee, but the 34-year-old played 83 minutes against Lithuania and showed no signs of fatigue.

Asked how Ronaldo was feeling when substituted late on, Santos told RTP: "He's fine. I had no doubt about that, as I said before the match. Other people did, but I didn't have any doubts."

Ronaldo opened the scoring early on from a penalty he won and curled in a second prior to half-time, before completing his hat-trick 25 minutes from the end. 

Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes was full of praise for his team-mate, who is now up to 98 goals for the reigning European champions.

"What we have is a very motivated Cristiano, who always gives his best," Fernandes said. "He scored three times, which is normal for him."

Pizzi, Goncalo Paciencia and Bernardo Silva were also on target for Portugal, who can seal second place in Group B if they beat Luxembourg in their final qualifier on Sunday.

Santos felt his side could have scored more than twice in the first half, but was ultimately pleased with the resounding scoreline following last month's 2-1 loss to Ukraine.

"The players stuck to the plan," he said. "We played very well in the first half, with lots of variety to our game and plenty of control. 

"At the break we could have had more goals. But after scoring the fourth we could afford to rest ready for the next game.

"We'll try to beat Luxembourg in the same manner, but we have less than 72 hours to recover so we'll see."

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