17.11.2021 » Will Cristiano Ronaldo play in the 2022 World Cup?
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be played in Qatar in November and December next year, with France, Germany and Brazil the usual betting favourites even this far ahead of the tournament. Other nations like Spain and Argentina might have legitimate aspirations in lifting the much coveted trophy in the final game, but for now, most bookmakers don't really look at them as major favourites. For those looking to place a bet, you can use this bet365 registration code to back your pick for the World Cup. One team that may not make it to Qatar next year though is Portugal. A heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to Serbia in their last 2022 World Cup qualifier this past weekend, has left the Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo fuming, and has put the team's plans of qualifying in serious jeopardy.
Cristiano Ronaldo - Destroying Sweden in 2014 World Cup playoffs:
The EURO 2016 champions were four minutes away from securing automatic qualification for next year's World Cup finals in Qatar.
However, Serbia snatched away a come-from-behind 2-1 win at the Estádio da Luz, courtesy of Aleksandar Mitrovic's last-gasp winner, to send Portugal to the dreaded play-offs.
Fernando Santos' side merely needed to draw with Serbia to book a ticket for Qatar 2022, but they have now thrown their qualification for the final tournament into doubt.
Ronaldo was left in tears in the aftermath, probably realising that his last opportunity to taste World Cup glory is now hanging by a thread.
Approaching the twilight of his playing career, the 36-year-old is aware he might not have another shot at the most prestigious international title should Portugal collapse in the play-offs.
He has taken to social media to encourage his teammates, pointing out his tremendous desire to play in Qatar next year.
"Football has shown us time and time again that, at times, it is the most winding paths that lead to the most desired outcomes." he wrote on Instagram.
"Yesterday's result was tough, but not enough to get us down."
"The objective of being present at the 2022 World Cup is still very much alive and we know what we have to do to get there."
"No excuses. Portugal heading to Qatar."
A dangerous playoff lies ahead...
Ronaldo has featured in the last four World Cup showpieces since making his tournament debut in 2006 without ever making it to the grand final.
Portugal's Euro 2016 triumph saw Cristiano wrap up a coveted international accolade, but lifting the World Cup crown could be a career-defining achievement for one of the world's great.
Ronaldo and Portugal were in a similar situation nearly a decade ago, when the former Real Madrid talisman almost single-handedly dumped Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden in the 2014 play-offs.
The Seleção will need their headline performer to shine bright again and help them avoid failing to reach the final tournament for the first time since France '98.
Time is ticking for Ronaldo to land the ultimate international prize that would undoubtedly make him stand out among his peers and further cement his football legacy.
So there is a feeling that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will be more motivated to guide Portugal to next year's tournament than it was the case eight years ago.
Ronaldo is a serial winner that has kept his sides ticking over in tumultuous times, and now more than ever, he has to step up to the plate.
But if Portugal fail to seal a place in Qatar, it could be the last we've seen from the most prolific player in the history of men's international football in the national team.
Cristiano's tear following his side's loss to Serbia showed how much it meant for him to reach the 2022 World Cup straight away without taking a detour.
Hence, it's fair to say Ronaldo knows how potential play-offs heartbreak would affect his hopes of leading Portugal to their first-ever World Cup title.
It's a bold prediction and has to be taken with a grain of salt, but Portugal's potential play-offs elimination could well bring Cristiano's international career to a halt.
Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Manchester United is on November 20, against Watford. You can watch Watford vs Manchester United, PSG vs Nantes, Barcelona vs Espanyol, Leicester City vs Chelsea, Liverpool vs Arsenal, and Augsburg vs Bayern Munich, all matches provided from our live soccer game pages.
Manchester United next game:
Watford vs Manchester United kick-off time (20-11-2021):
Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+8: 22:00
Jakarta (Indonesia) | UTC/GMT+7: 21:00
India (New Delhi) | UTC/GMT+5.30: 19:30
Italy (Turin) | UTC/GMT+1: 16:00
Spain (Madrid) | UTC/GMT+1: 16:00
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+0: 15:00
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 12:00
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-4: 11:00
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-7: 08:00
Sources: ronaldo7.net / eurosport.com / france24.com / reuters.com