After Cristiano Ronaldo put in a hat trick against Spain in his first 2018 World Cup match, a factoid started getting passed around social media and media outlets that, by scoring that hat trick, Ronaldo became the first player to score in eight consecutive international tournaments.
Except, well, he hadn’t. That honor belonged to Asamoah Gyan of Ghana, who took to Twitter to point it out
Is Gyan right?
Not only is Gyan right, he’s not even full stating all that he accomplished. Gyan didn’t just score in eight consecutive international tournaments – he did it in nine.
He began his account in the 2006 World Cup, where he scored against the Czech Republic. In the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), he scored against Guinea. Then he scored three more goals at the 2010 AFCON, then three at the 2010 World Cup. He scored in the 2012 AFCON, then when the tournament switched to odd years in 2013, he scored again, this time against Niger. He scored twice in the 2014 World Cup; then again he scored in the 2015 AFCON. In 2017 AFCON, his ninth consecutive international tournament, he scored against Mali.
Why would people not mention Gyan’s accomplishment?
There are two schools of thought regarding how Gyan got overlooked, and some truth to both of them.
The first idea is that most media is lazy, or at least time-constrained, so if some account out there says that Ronaldo is the first person to score in eight consecutive international tournaments, media will just take their word for it and pass it along. It’s hard to research the entirety of international soccer history, and if someone writes something that seems probably right, most accounts will just take their word for it and pass it along. It’s Internet telephone — someone tweets it, a verified account supposes it’s probably true and passes it along, and now it’s accepted thought. Boom.
The other theory is that European media has long discounted the AFCON tournament as a major international tournament, and it’s unsurprising they would forget about or diminish Gyan’s record there.
Which one is right? Both, probably!
Has Ronaldo weighed in on this?
Nope. And I doubt he will. He never proclaimed the record was his, and Gyan doesn’t seem to have any issue with Ronaldo — it wasn’t the Portuguese striker who started all of this. All Ronaldo did was score in eight consecutive tournaments, an amazing accomplishment. He just wasn’t the first to do it.