Ronaldo at the World Cup
In many people’s opinion the greatest footballer of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo, has almost won everything there is to win in the game. Four Champions League titles, three Premier League crowns with Manchester United, two La Liga titles with Real Madrid, two Scudettos with Juventus.
Ronaldo has been a vital part of the success of all the clubs he has played for. His five Ballons d’Or is ample proof of this. However, Ronaldo has also been a star for his native Portugal at the international level.
Ronaldo made his debut for Portugal in 2003. Now he is the captain of Portugal as well as their record holder for both goals and caps.
Portugal won the Euro 2016 and Ronaldo was instrumental to their success. At the World Cup though, Ronaldo’s Portugal has never won.
If compared with other contenders for the best player of all time, the lack of World Cup success is something that holds Ronaldo back. Brazil’s 1958 World Cup win, was the first of three Pele, as he also won Brazil’s 1962 World Cup and 1970.
Diego Maradona won with Argentina in 1986.
Messi and Ronaldo have both never won at the sport’s grandest stage, but there have been no shortage of memorable Ronaldo moments at the World Cup.
Forming the backbone of Scolari’s team for the World Cup in Germany 2006, together with players like Figo, Deco and Pauleta. Ronaldo had the number 17 jersey due to Figo’s seniority as number 7.
Portugal reached the semi-finals finishing the tournament in fourth.
Most people’s memory of Ronaldo is likely to be the way he got Beckham sent off in the quarter-final. Ronaldo became public enemy number one in England for his part of having Beckham sent off.
In World Cup of South Africa in 2010, Ronaldo arrived at the tournament as the world’s most expensive player, having been signed by Spanish giants Real Madrid for some 94 million EUR.
The tournament was a deep disappointment for Ronaldo, only scoring one goal in the 7-0 thrashing of North Korea and losing to Spain in the round of 16 after Portugal only managing only three shots on target to Spain’s ten.
Portugal’s journey to Brazil 2014 involved a play-off versus Sweden in which Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in the second leg in Sweden and four goals combined over the two matches. Even so, Ronaldo arrived in Brazil with a niggling knee injury and even if Ronaldo performed very well, Portugal was eliminated in the group stage after having lost 4-0 to Germany, managed a draw with the USA after a 95th minute equalizer.
Going into the last match Portugal needed to beat Ghana as well as a favorable result in the USA Vs Germany match to be able to qualify for the round of 16.
Ronaldo rose to the challenge producing a dominating performance and putting his side ahead with a goal only ten minutes before full time and winning the match 2-1. This was however not enough and the Portuguese were eliminated.
Ronaldo left Brazil as the only Portugal player having scored in three different World Cup finals.
Portugal’s 3-3 opener against Spain, in Russia 2018 was spectacular. Ronaldo doubled his overall tally of World Cup goals, with a hat-trick. In particular has late free kick equalizer was outrageous.
Portugal was eliminated by Uruguay, with a 2-1 loss, in the group of 16.
Cristiano Ronaldo has played at four World Cups and has 17 appearances in the tournament. He has scored 7 goals.
By the time Qatar 2022 comes around Ronaldo will be 37 years, however based on his recent form playing for Juventus it is far too early to write him off having an instrumental role in that tournament.
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