LYON, France, July 7 (UPI) -- A green jersey jostled defenders and exploded into orbit, meeting the ball with his head and finishing into net, in Portugal's 2-0 Euro 2016 win Wednesday against Wales.
That jersey was worn by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo: the record breaker.
Ronaldo equaled Michel Platini's record of nine career goals in Euro tournaments with his finish in the 50th minute. He assisted Nani on Portugal's second score.
"It's nice to break records but the most important thing was to reach the final, for the coaching staff and all my teammates," Ronaldo said after the match. "I have broken many records and I will continue to do so, but the important thing was we made it through to the final."
The Real Madrid star is also the first to play in three Euro semifinals. He began his UEFA Euro 2016 scoring bonanza with two netters against Hungary on June 22. His score Wednesday was his third of the tournament.
Ronaldo will have a chance to best Platini for the best scorer in Euro history when Portugal faces either Germany or France in the July 10 final in Paris.
All you need to know about Ronaldo's header pic.twitter.com/elOY9rWs26— ALEX KAY-JELSKI (@AlexKJTimes) July 7, 2016
"We are a team - the national team are a unit," Ronaldo told Eurosport. "That's how we've been acting since the beginning. I've been trying to help by scoring, scrapping, fighting with defense; I've given it my all. Like the gaffer says, there has been great teamwork and players have been fighting very hard. In order to win we have to have 23 players fighting. I believed in my heart we would go far in the Euros. We didn't start as well as we wanted to. But this isn't the 100m, this is a marathon. We got through to the knockout stages and when you think Nani, Renato [Sanches] and [Ricardo] Quaresma have all scored. We are a team - it's not all about me."
He sits one goal behind France's Antoine Griezmann in the race for the Golden Boot. Ronaldo scored twice at Euro 2004, once at Euro 2008, and three times at Euro 2012. Portugal has not been beaten in Ronaldo's last 14 competitions for the national squad. The team also finished as finalists in 2004, but was knocked out in the semifinals in 2012.
"It'll be a complicated game," Ronaldo said after the game. "Both France and Germany are excellent teams. Both have already won the EURO and the World Cup. So it will be very tough. This is the second time Portugal have reached a final. And, like I said before, we have to dream. Dreaming is free. And that is why we have to dream."
On the flip side, another chapter was added to the debate for World's best player between Ronaldo and Argentina and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi. While Ronaldo is set to face off in a brutal Euro final, Messi has now been labeled by his detractors as a "criminal."
Messi, 28, was recently sentenced to jail time as part of a tax-evasion verdict. Although unlikely to serve actual time behind bars, Messi has been imprisoned by the disappointment of Argentina's loss to Chile in the Copa America Final. Messi finished second in the tournament with five goals scored, trailing only the six scores of Chile's Eduardo Vargas. Messi broke Argentina's all-time goal scoring record during Copa America, passing Gabriel Batistuta with a free kick against the United States. He 'retired' from the national team with 55 goals internationally. Ronaldo is Portugal's all-time top scorer, with more than 60 finishes in net. His eight career goals in Copa America play could be measured up to Ronaldo's nine scores [and counting] at the Euro.