Northern Ireland will provide the opposition when the captain reaches his milestone, a man who still seems to regard national service as a pleasure
The clichés about pampered virtuosos are being put to flight. It is a small cost to football that the layabout individualist of yesteryear has very few counterparts in the top flight nowadays. Cristiano Ronaldo may work hard to look fashionable, but his efforts on the field are more prodigious still. At the age of only 27, he will collect his 100th cap when Portugal meet Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier staged in Porto.
The time when some players seemed to regard international service as a burden seems to be over. If Ronaldo's trend-setting instincts are imitated it will be a boon to the game. Others could mimic the Real Madrid attacker's desire to play for their country with the same limitless desire that they do for their well-heeled clubs.
On many occasions with Portugal, it must take self-control for someone like Ronaldo not to feel rueful that he lacks the calibre of team-mate to be found at the Bernabéu. There is no mystery about the uneven standard of a side drawn from a country whose population stands at just 10.5m, which is, for example, about one fifth of England's.
All the same they were at no disadvantage while hosting Euro 2004, but Portugal, in the final, ended the tournament as they had begun it, with a loss to Greece. Ronaldo, at the age of 19, had at least notched his first international goal during that opening fixture.
Opposing managers may curse him when his contributions amount to rather more than a consolation. It is intriguing for the rest of us, though, that no amount of thuggishness, computer analysis or tight marking can be counted upon to halt performers such as Ronaldo or the even more astonishing Lionel Messi.
The shrewdest tacticians must have retreated into seclusion when Messi scored 73 goals for Barcelona in all competitions last season. Such a tally would verge on the unfathomable even for a player with an uncomplicated life, but Messi, of course, was diagnosed in childhood as having a growth hormone deficiency. The move to Barcelona when he was 13 secured the medical treatment he needed.
The rivalry between Spain's dominant clubs should be enthralling in both its intensity and its capacity to entertain us. A player such as Ronaldo is also lucky to be at work in this period. We forget to appreciate how much technology has done to limit the wrongdoing and the harm done to players who have the effrontery to beat an opponent with sleight of foot.
The entire attitude towards football has altered. It now seems strange that, for generations, it was understood that a winger could expect to be a victim of violence if he was at the peak of his form. Few who were present in Glasgow for the 1974 European Cup semi-final with Atlético Madrid will have forgotten the sight of the Celtic winger Jimmy Johnstone being kicked in the testicles.
There was uproar over that occasion, but the tolerance of violence was greater then, particularly since television coverage could not be counted on to capture every dubious deed. The balance has shifted markedly since then. If anyone strikes fear, it will more commonly be a virtuoso such as Ronaldo or Messi rather that a brute of an opponent.
Assuming they are in form, it can often appear that there is no legitimate means of denying them. That 73rd goal for Messi rounded off the 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the 2012 Copa del Rey final. In truth, however, the challenge of dealing with an exalted lineup does stimulate managers and players.
Chelsea, having won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, twice came from behind to draw at Camp Nou and so reach the last season's European Cup final, where they beat Bayern Munich in the penalty shootout. Messi had been unable to score in either leg of the semi-finals.
It is a sign of all that he has achieved that people seem a little surprised when he is not a master of his destiny or that of his team. The same holds true for Ronaldo. Despite the weight of expectation on their shoulders, each of them seems elusive if not unstoppable.