After matching Pauleta's scoring record and winning his much-vaunted duel with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Portugal star emphasized that his sole concern was his team's qualification.
The Real Madrid star struck three times in the second half which, added to his goal in the 1-0 first leg win, wrapped up a 4-2 aggregate victory and put him on 47 goals for Portugal, level with Pauleta as the country’s top scorer of all time.
And though Ronaldo was delighted for the Seleccao to seal their passage into the finals, he dismissed the significance of matching Pauleta’s record, instead asserting that his focus was on delivering on the pitch for his team.
“Records are there to be beaten. It was not a priority,” he began to Publico. “I knew that Portugal needed me. I do not have to prove anything to anyone. I try to do my work and give answers on the pitch.
"I did my job for my team. It is the team who have to be congratulated. We suffered for sure but that is how great teams win things. We retreated a little [when Sweden scored], but then we were better and we played better."
The Portugal-Sweden playoff was touted as a battle for a World Cup spot between two of the world’s best players in Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and the Paris Saint-Germain striker struck twice in the second leg to briefly put Sweden ahead on the night after Ronaldo's opener.
Although Ronaldo ultimately had the last laugh with two more goals in the last 15 minutes, he moved to quash any hype surrounding his individual rivalry with Ibrahimovic.
“I do not compete against Zlatan,” he said to TV4. “He is a fantastic player and [the] biggest star in Sweden, but I do not compete against him. I play for my team.”
The 28-year-old also took to Twitter after the match to congratulate his team on its achievement in qualifying for next summer’s showpiece, tweeting: “All together we did it! Brazil is waiting for us!”
Portugal joins fellow playoff winners France, Greece and Croatia as the final European entrants to the World Cup. Ronaldo is now only 19 caps away from breaking Luis Figo’s record of 127 appearances for the national side.