How Portugal’s Euro Exit Will Likely Herald Ronaldo’s Int’l Retirement

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Ronaldo
How Portugal’s Euro Exit Will Likely Herald Ronaldo’s Int’l Retirement

How Portugal’s Euro Exit Will Likely Herald Ronaldo’s Int’l Retirement—-Portugal’s exit from the European Championship on Friday may signal the end of Cristiano Ronaldo’s illustrious international career.

Despite the absence of an official statement from the 39-year-old football icon, his performance at Euro 2024 showed signs of his declining influence on the field.

Ronaldo failed to score in regular play during the tournament, only finding the net during shootouts. Portugal’s journey ended in a dramatic quarter-final against France, where they were defeated 3-5 on penalties following a goalless draw. Ronaldo missed a crucial chance in extra time but successfully converted his penalty in the shootout.

Coach Roberto Martinez was hesitant to comment on Ronaldo’s future with the national team, stating, “It’s too soon and raw after the match to talk about that and there have been no individual decisions made.”

Ronaldo’s place in football history will always be debated, often compared to legends like Pele, Diego Maradona, and his long-time rival Lionel Messi. Although Ronaldo has never won a World Cup, his statistical achievements in international football are unparalleled. He has amassed 212 caps and scored 130 goals for Portugal, far surpassing Messi’s 108 international goals.

Throughout his career, Ronaldo’s presence in the Portugal squad has been justified by his performances. Martinez had remarked earlier in the tournament, “Cristiano is in the national team of Portugal because he deserves to be.”

Ronaldo’s journey with the national team began in 2003 when he made his debut as an 18-year-old. Over the years, he became a regular fixture, playing in six European Championships—a record—and scoring 14 goals in 30 matches. His crowning achievement came in 2016 when Portugal won the Euros, although he was injured early in the final match against France.

Including his goals in Euro qualifying, Ronaldo has scored 55 times in the competition, with England’s Harry Kane trailing behind with 29. At the World Cup, Ronaldo has played 22 matches and scored eight goals across five tournaments. Since his debut, Portugal has consistently qualified for the World Cup, with their best performance being a semi-final finish in 2006.

Ronaldo’s career is decorated with five Ballon d’Or awards, highlighting his impact on the sport. While his international career may be winding down, he continues to excel at the club level. Last season, he was the top scorer in the Saudi league with 35 goals for Al Nassr, with another year left on his contract.

As the curtain potentially falls on Ronaldo’s international career, his contributions to football will be remembered for generations to come.

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