In Portugal's 4-2 win over Northern Ireland, the 28-year-old moved to second in the all-time goalscoring list with three second-half strikesCristiano Ronaldo has taken pride in surpassing Eusebio's goalscoring tally with a hat trick in Portugal's 4-2 win over Northern Ireland to become his nation's second-highest goalscorer of all-time.
A second-half trio of goals helped the Seleccao leap back into first place in their 2014 World Cup qualification group, two points ahead of Russia, which has a game in hand.
The Real Madrid forward entered the game with 40 international goals but left with 43, surpassing legend Eusebio's 41 and only trailing Pauleta - who is on 47 - in the nation's standings.
"It was the first time I scored three goals for the national team and for me is something historic," Ronaldo, 28, told reporters. "At club-level I have done it, but internationally it has never happened before. I am happy, it was special.
"I came closer to the record, but that was not my goal. I am proud to have tied and then exceeded Eusebio, one of the greatest players to ever play for Portugal. It is with great pride that I take this record."
Afterwards, the Santiago Bernabeu star wrote on his official Twitter account: "It was an important result for Portugal in a very special date for me.
"I would like to dedicate this victory to my father that has left us eight years ago."
Portugal coach Paulo Bento was thrilled with the forward's three-goal performance and he believes the sky is still the limit for the former Manchester United man.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is from another planet,” he told reporters. “He is already the second-best scorer in Portugal history, which is crazy because he is still young.”