December 29, 2022
It certainly wasn't the World Cup Portuguese fans had dreamed of, as a knockout at the hands of Morocco quickly slammed Cristiano Ronaldo's hopes of leading his nation to World Cup glory. The Portuguese captain struggled to make an impact in this tournament and his future is now in question...
Cristiano Ronaldo, widely considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time, led the charge for Portugal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar, Doha. While the event may be over, with Argentina winning the coveted title, the 2022 World Cup was momentous on many levels. For Ronaldo, the 2022 World Cup is the fifth one he's participated in, having previously represented Portugal in 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018. It's also the second time that the World Cup has grown more technologically advanced, using video assistant referees and semi-automated offside technology to help assist referee's decisions. This is also the first time that the World Cup was held outside of the traditional June-July window to help players escape the heat of the Qatari summer.
Cristiano Ronaldo - Goobye Portugal:
At 37 years old, Ronaldo is still playing at an extremely high level. However, despite his best efforts, he and the team, consisting of some of the world's finest players, could not add a World Cup title for Portugal. It was an anti-climatic finish to a turbulent few months for Ronaldo, as for the first time in his career he returns to no club after his high-profile falling-out with Manchester United. The next World Cup will be in 2026, putting Ronaldo at 41 years old and pushing the limit of what's deemed possible at that age in the professional game. Will this be the last time we see Ronaldo on the World Cup stage? Has the World Cup been a failure?
For starters, he was the first football player to score in five different World Cups during the opening match between Portugal and Ghana. The game, which occurred in the group stages, saw Ronaldo scoring the first goal at the 65th-minute mark.
At a later stage, CR7 appeared at the 73rd-minute mark to help his country secure a dominant win against Switzerland. He was removed from the starting lineup of players. The six goals were scored by Pepe, Raphaël Guerreiro, Rafael Leāo, and Gonçalo Ramos — who scored a hattrick. While Ronaldo may not have scored a goal of his own, he was pivotal in pushing the team forward and motivating them to get there.
Unfortunately, Ronaldo's appearance at the 2022 World Cup was cut short when Portugal was taken out at the quarter-finals stage by Morocco. Morocco's Youssef En-Nesyri scored a goal at the 42nd-minute mark, and proceeded to defend wave after wave of Portuguese attacks. As the final whistle blew, a teerful Ronaldo was seen leaving the pitch for the changing rooms. He cut an isolated figure, one far removed from the icon that has given us so many defining moments. There would be no fairytale ending for the boy from Madeira, as Morroco advanced to the semi-final to face Lionel Messi's Argentina.
What's next for Cristiano? For the first time in his career, there is no club to go back to. There are rumours that he has a two-and-a-half-year deal with Saudi Arabian football club Al Nassr available. According to reports, the deal is worth 200 million euros a year. Previously, while in an interview with TalkTV, Ronaldo said he had turned down a £305 million a year deal to join another Saudi Arabian football club. There is still plenty of magic left in Ronaldo, and a move to the Middle East may not give him the competition to really excel. As we all know, this is a man who thrives on the biggest stages of world football.
2023 will definitely be an interesting time for Ronaldo as he navigates his way around a new club and all the other challenges that come with it. His legacy in the game will undoubtedly be in the forefront of his mind.
Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Manchester United in the Premier League is on December 31, against Wolverhampton. You can watch Wolverhampton vs Manchester United, Real Valladolid vs Real Madrid, PSG vs Strasbourg, Manchester City vs Everton, Liverpool vs Leicester City, and Leeds vs Man City, all matches provided from our football streaming game pages.
Manchester United next game:
Wolverhampton vs Manchester United kick-off time (31-12-2022):
Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+8: 20:30
India (New Delhi) | UTC/GMT+5.30: 18:00
Italy (Turin) | UTC/GMT+1: 13:30
Spain (Madrid) | UTC/GMT+1: 13:30
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+0: 12:30
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 09:30
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-5: 07:30
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-8: 04:30