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October 29, 2023

Will Ronaldo play for Portugal at the 2026 World Cup?

Cristiano Ronaldo looking to the sky

Cristiano Ronaldo, nearing 39, intends to represent Portugal at the 2024 European Championships and the 2026 World Cup before retiring. Despite his age, the Portuguese star hopes to extend his international career for at least a couple more years...

Despite heading towards his 39th birthday in February, Cristiano Ronaldo is on course to represent Portugal in the next two major international tournaments. Ronaldo has previously confirmed he will play at the 2024 European Championships, but is reportedly eyeing the 2026 World Cup as his final international swansong. According to Saudi Arabian journalist Ali Al-Harbi, the Portuguese star has formulated his plans for the latter stages of his illustrious career.

"Cristiano Ronaldo informed the management of the Saudi club before traveling to the Portuguese national team camp that he wants to renew his contract until the beginning of 2027," Al-Harbi posted on social media platform X.

"Cristiano wants to play the 2026 World Cup while he is a player for Al-Nassr club, and then he will announce his retirement from football."

Cristiano Ronaldo - Primetime Ronaldo:

The Age factor could be determinant

The forward would be 41 when the tournament is staged in the United States, Mexico and Canada, but he clearly believes he can continue to perform at a high level. His move to the Saudi Pro League was widely viewed as a sign that he was ready to wind down his career, but Ronaldo seems intent on continuing to defy expectations. He has been in fine form for Al-Nassr this season and looks to be relishing the task of helping to grow the profile of professional football in Saudi Arabia. In a recent interview with local media outlets, Ronaldo expressed his desire to retire at his current club and confirmed he is eager to continue performing at a high level.

"I still love football in spite of my age, as I still love playing, scoring goals, winning games," he said.

"That's why I will continue until my body says 'Cristiano, it's over'. But, so far, I feel good, as I'm still helping the team."

Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Al Nassr in 2023

Ronaldo's fitness levels could help him play at the 2026 World Cup

While the day will come when Ronaldo will be forced to hang up his boots, it seems likely that fans have a few more years remaining to enjoy his talents. The prolific forward recently took his tally to a mind-boggling 127 international goals during Portugal's recent qualifiers for the 2024 European Championships in Germany.

He has been the scourge of online bookmakers throughout his career for both club and country, delivering multiple winning returns for punters who back him to get on the scoresheet. Ronaldo's penchant for scoring goals surprisingly saw him secure a bumper payout for Irish punters in September 2021, when he set the record for international goals at the Estadio Algarve. With Ronaldo needing just one goal to break Ali Daei's record, Republic of Ireland fans placed a flurry of wagers on mobile betting apps for him to get on the scoresheet against their own team.

While there is an unwritten rule that supporters should never bet on the opposition, their move had plenty of logic given Ireland’s struggles at international level in recent years.

The decision looked set to be vindicated in the 19th minute when Portugal were awarded a penalty, but a superb save by Gavin Bazuna left Ronaldo shaking his head and Irish fans with mixed emotions. Things got even more complicated for them when Ireland took the lead just before half-time, but Ronaldo eventually made his mark on proceedings. Two headed efforts late in the game took Ronaldo's tally to 111 international goals and sent many Irish fans home happy despite the defeat.

Unlikely feats of this nature have been commonplace throughout Ronaldo's career and it would be a brave move to back against him featuring at the 2026 World Cup.

He keeps himself supremely fit – a factor which is undoubtedly playing a key role in him still playing international football past his 38th birthday. While there is still plenty of time for Ronaldo's powers to wain before the tournament starts, it would be no surprise if he is in the Portugal squad in 2026.

Cristiano Ronaldo next to Georgina Rodriguez attending a boxing event

Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Al Nassr is on October 31 for the King's Cup, against Al Ettifaq. You can watch Al Nassr vs Al Ettifaq, Real Madrid vs Rayo Vallecano, AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool, Manchester United vs Newcastle, West Ham vs Arsenal and Chelsea vs Blackburn Rovers, all matches provided from our live soccer game pages.

Al Nassr next game:
Al Nassr vs Al Ettifaq
kick-off time (31-10-2023):

Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+7: 21:45
India (New Delhi) |
UTC/GMT+4.30: 19:15
Saudi Arabia
(Riyadh) | UTC/GMT+2: 16:45
(Madrid) | UTC/GMT+1: 15:45
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+0: 14:45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 11:45
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-4: 10:45
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-7: 07:45

Sources: / /

Cristiano Ronaldo playing for Al Nassr in a blue uniform




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