Ronaldo’s 50th international goal: An oral history by Fatau Dauda

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s European Championships may have ended prematurely as Portugal were defeated by Belgium in the Round of 16, but CR7 will always remember this tournament as the competition in which he equalled the record for men’s international goalscoring.

Previously, the record was held by Ali Daei of Iran, who registered 109 goals for the Asian heavyweights between 1993 and 2006.

Ronaldo matched that tally, albeit in 178 international outings to Daei’s 149, when he netted twice against France in Portugal’s final group game.

Ex-Ghana goalkeeper Fatau Dauda has played his own part in Ronaldo’s record, having been part of the Black Stars side that faced Portugal at the World Cup in Brazil seven years ago.

In this unique oral history with Goal , Dauda talks us through his memories of that tournament, of the Black Stars’ highs and lows, and—of course—of that performance against Ronaldo and Portugal.

While the game ended in disappointment for the West Africans, with Portugal winning 2-1 to eliminate them from the World Cup, it’s a fixture—and an experience—that lives long in the memory of Dauda, as he told us for this feature.

While the Ghana keeper was at fault for Ronaldo’s 80th-minute winner, as he reached his half century of international goals and dumped the Black Stars out of the tournament, the stopper also made some big saves to keep the European side at bay.

Particularly impressive was his first-half block from a Ronaldo header, as Dauda achieved something that few keepers can say they managed—keeping CR7 out from point blank range.

Of course, that tournament is remembered as a low point in Ghanaian football due to the controversies that overshadowed their competition campaign—notably involving Sulley Muntari, Kevin-Prince Boateng and John Boye.

However, there was much to celebrate for Ghana and Kwesi Appiah—the first sub-Saharan manager to lead his own country to a World Cup.

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There was, of course, that sublime play-off victory over an Egypt side who had previously won a trio of Africa Cup of Nations consecutively.

Then, there came the 2-2 draw against Germany in Fortaleza, as Ghana came back from 1-0 down to lead the European giants, only do be undone by a Miroslav Klose equaliser in the 71st minute.

That was one of only three goals Germany conceded en route to winning the title, and the only occasion during the tournament when they failed to defeat their opposition.