Cristiano Ronaldo aims to do 'better, better, better' - Portugal's Santos
Portugal coach Fernando Santos says Cristiano Ronaldo's "principal characteristic is that he wants to be a winner" as the Real Madrid star seeks to draw closer to Ferenc Puskas at the top of Europe's all-time goal scoring list.
After 14 strikes in his last 10 games for Portugal in all competitions, Ronaldo now has 75 goals in 143 senior international appearances.
That puts the 32-year-old joint second in the ranking alongside former Hungary striker Sandor Kocsis, who made 68 international appearances, with Kocsis' one-time teammate Ferenc Puskas still out on front with 84 in his 89 caps for his home country between 1945 and 1956.
Asked at a news conference in Oporto if Ronaldo's current five-match suspension at Madrid would make him even more motivated for Thursday's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Faroe Islands, Santos said the four-time Ballon d'Or winner was always pushing himself regardless of the situation.
"It is not that Cristiano is more motivated," he said. "I have never seen Cristiano Ronaldo unmotivated. His principal characteristic is that he wants to be a winner. He always wants to win and to do better, better, better. So for sure he and all who are here will respond well."
Ronaldo is currently joint top goal scorer in UEFA World Cup qualifying on 11 goals, alongside Robert Lewandowski of Poland and Bayern Munich.
Portugal are currently three points behind leaders Switzerland in their qualification group for Russia 2018. Santos' side also face Hungary in Budapest on Sunday, with Oct. 10's final game against the Swiss in Lisbon likely to decide automatic qualification for the finals.
Ex-Iran striker Ali Daei remains the all-time international top scorer, with the one-time Bayern Munich player having notched 109 goals in his 149 caps between 1993 and 2006.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan