25.05.2021 » Can Ronaldo guide Portugal to a historic defence in EURO 2020?
In a few short weeks, we will be briefly stepping back in time to finally see EURO 2020 unfold. With all the delays, there is even more in the way of anticipation and unanswered questions for this year's tournament than usual. But for Cristiano Ronaldo's millions of fans, it really boils down to two questions. Can Portugal possibly retain the crown that they won at the Stade de France back in 2016, and can Cristiano Ronaldo stay fit to play a meaningful role in helping them to do so and eventually also grab the tournament's top scorer prize? We'll have to wait for next June and July in order to see how everything pans out.
Portugal - Euro 2020 squad and fixtures:
Mounting a successful defence
If you'd asked that question a couple of tournaments ago, you'd have quickly been reminded that in the tournament's 50-year history, no team had ever won back-to-back European Championships. Then, in 2012, Spain threw the rule book out of the window by doing exactly that in a 4-0 demolition of Italy from which the runners up have still not fully recovered.
Can Portugal do the same thing? If you take a look at the EM 2020 odds, you can see that they are squarely in outsider territory, down at seventh favourite at 8/1 odds. They have been drawn into the worst possible group, and even if they make it through to the knockout stages successfully, tournament favourites England will surely have to be negotiated, either at the semi final or final stage, on their home turf.
Yet does any of this sound familiar? Portugal overcame identical challenges four years ago when they faced the favourites in front of their home fans in the final and basically had all football betting predictions against them... Crucially, they managed to do it without Ronaldo. Now imagine what is possible with him leading the charge.
Can CR7 stay fit?
Ronaldo's fitness is inevitably a concern, and that knee problem is never going away entirely. But CR7 is in a good place at the moment. He's managing the knee well and his fitness regime is incredibly harsh but has been keeping him at the top of his game.
In fact, despite the fact that he celebrated his 36th birthday a few months ago, Ronaldo is probably in better shape now than he was in the run up to Euro 2016. Fernando Gomes is the president of the Portuguese Football Federation, and he certainly feels there is plenty of mileage left in Ronaldo's boots yet. He's even gone so far as to suggest that Funchal's most famous son could make an appearance at Euro 2024 in Germany. He told the JuveFC site that he believes Ronaldo will still be playing for his country after he turns 40, and said: "He is 36, we are in 2021 and I will remain here only until 2024. I think he will leave after me."
For now, however, we will be happy to take the tournaments, and the years, one at a time. The weeks ahead are going to be incredibly challenging, but they might just include what will be remembered as Ronaldo's finest moments. Portugal's defence gets underway with a 5PM kickoff on Tuesday 15 June when they take on Hungary at Budapest's. We can't wait!
Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Juventus in the Serie A is on May 23, against Bologna. You can watch Bologna vs Juventus, Real Madrid vs Villarreal, SD Eibar vs Barcelona, Valladolid vs Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen, and Bayern Munich vs Augsburg, all matches provided from our football streaming game pages.
Juventus next game:
Bologna vs Juventus kick-off time (23-05-2021):
Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+8: 02:45
Jakarta (Indonesia) | UTC/GMT+7: 01:45
India (New Delhi) | UTC/GMT+5.30: 00:15
Italy (Turin) | UTC/GMT+2: 20:45
Spain (Madrid) | UTC/GMT+2: 20:45
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+1: 19:45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 15:45
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-4: 14:45
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-7: 11:45
Sources: ronaldo7.net / thesun.co.uk / juvefc.com