Hilarious blunder helps Cristiano Ronaldo break goals record

A horrendous goalkeeping blunder has helped Cristiano Ronaldo break a goal-scoring record for Portugal in European qualifying.

Ronaldo became the all-time leading scorer in European Championship qualifiers with 25 goals after scoring four goals in Portugal's 5-1 thumping of Lithuania.

As far as hat-tricks go for the Juventus superstar, it was probably one of least impressive of Ronaldo's distinguished career.

However, the four goals propelled him to 24 in European qualifiers - putting him one above former Ireland striker Robbie Keane's previous record.

Lithuania's goalkeeper gifted Ronaldo one of his four goals with an absolute howler. Pic: Twitter/Getty

Ronaldo has Lithuania's Ernestas Setkus to thank for one of the four strikes, after the keeper had a moment to forget in the second half.

Setkus made an absolute meal of a scuffed Ronaldo shot that never should have been allowed to end up in the back of the net.

The Lithuania keeper looked to have the tame effort covered but the ball bobbled up at the last minute, hit his glove and ricocheted off his back and into the net.

The nightmare moment was exacerbated by the inevitable mockery that followed on social media.

Following the resounding win, Portugal head coach Fernando Santos said Ronaldo's four-goal display provides “clear proof” that he is the best player in the world.

The 34-year-old superstar's goal bonanza was his eighth Portugal hat-trick - improving his overall 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.

Cristiano Ronaldo is now the leading goalscorer in European qualifying. Pic: Getty

"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."

Ronaldo's 93 Portugal goals puts him within touching distance of the international scoring record held by Iran's Ali Daei , who hit the back of the net 109 times for the Middle East nation.

His next chance to add to his goal tally will come in October as Portugal host Luxembourg and travel to Ukraine as Euro 2020 qualifying continues during the international break.

With agencies