Lisbon: When Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo picks up his 100th cap against Northern Ireland on Tuesday, he will reflect on a career which started in central defence and was marked by early shyness before an explosion of attacking flair made him one of soccer's greatest players.
"It was on August 20th, 2003, against Kazakhstan, that I put on our national shirt for the first time. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life and a path which I am proud of," Ronaldo wrote on his Facebook page. He came on as a substitute for Luis Figo in what was, in retrospect, a symbolic handover from one Portuguese hero to another.
Ronaldo, the future 2008 world player of the year, took 2001 world player Figo's mantle and helped inspire Portugal to third place in FIFA's world rankings even if a first major international trophy is still elusive as he struggles to shrug off accusations he goes missing in really big games.
At 27, he will become one of the youngest European footballers to reach 100 caps behind Germany's Lukas Podolski and Estonia's Kristen Viikmae. He is Portugal's third most capped player of all time behind Figo with 127 and centre back Fernando Couto with 110....more
06:25 PM, Oct 15, 2012