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April 15, 2024

Ronaldo will be a man on a mission this summer

Cristiano Ronaldo singing Portugal anthem

The upcoming Euro 2024 carries immense significance for Ronaldo. At 39, this could be his last big tournament on the international stage and a chance to etch his name deeper into football history...

The £175 million-per-year deal that took Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia established him as the highest-paid player in the world, and left fans intrigued as to how he would fare in the Middle East. Considering he had several options, his decision to join Al-Nassr left many people scratching their heads, sparking theories that suggested the enormous salary spurred his decision. Australia was one of several potential destinations for Ronaldo, with A-League chief Danny Townsend holding talks with his representatives. A-League fans would undoubtedly have welcomed Ronaldo into the fold, while online bookmakers in Australia could have been forgiven for rubbing their hands with glee. Attracting one of the world's greatest stars to Australia would have sparked a frenzy that would have seen the best betting apps inundated with wagers.

Cristiano Ronaldo - How Portugal won the EURO 2016:

Ronaldo is still capable of making the diference...

However, supporters and oddsmakers alike were left frustrated as Ronaldo opted against a move to Australia. Since joining Al-Nassr, there have been glimpses of the Ronaldo that tore up Europe for the best part of two decades, but it has been far from smooth sailing a man who has been the scourge of bookies during his career.

Ronaldo's goalscoring prowess has never been in question, evidenced by his record of 50 goals in 56 games for Al-Nassr. However, despite winning silverware at each of his former clubs during a glittering European voyage, the football phenomenon has struggled to lead Al-Nassr to glory.

This has led Ronaldo to occasionally lose his cool, which isn't entirely surprising for a player who has worn his heart on his sleeve throughout his career and is allergic to losing.

However, his latest outburst had dire consequences as he was sent off in the Saudi Super Cup quarter-final defeat against champions-elect Al-Hilal.

Ronaldo is heading toward yet another trophyless campaign with Al-Nassr, but there could be compensation for the ageing superstar on the horizon.

He will play for Portugal in the upcoming European Championship in Germany, and leading his nation to success could put a smile on his space after a troubled spell in the Middle East.

Can Euro 2024 be Ronaldo's Redemption?

Portugal head into the tournament as one of the favourites, and all eyes will be Ronaldo considering this could be his last hurrah on the international stage. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star lifted his only major international silverware when Portugal battled their way to glory at Euro 2016.

After being forced off with an injury in the first half, Ronaldo lingered on the touchline alongside manager Fernando Santos to offer encouragement to his teammates, who ended up claiming a 1-0 win over host nation France.

Ronaldo will view Euro 2024 as his last chance to lead his nation to glory and rightly so. His international career is unlikely to stretch to the 2026 World Cup, especially considering Portugal's wealth of young attacking talent.

Portugal's remarkable talent pool was evident when Ronaldo was dropped for their World Cup last 16 clash against Switzerland in 2022. His replacement, Gonçalo Ramos, bagged a hat-trick in a resounding 6-1 win. Ramos' performance suggested it was time for the new generation to take over, and it could have happened had Portugal not bowed out in the quarter-finals against surprise package Morocco.

There was still some uncertainty over Ronaldo's future with the national team after Roberto Martinez replaced Santos but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner isn't finished, not by a long shot.

The debate surrounding Portugal's ageing talisman has raged on, with some people calling for a youthful revolution. However, Ronaldo's on-field response has been nothing short of thunderous.

Cristiano Ronaldo wearing the red shirt for Portugal

Ronaldo is set to lead the new generation...

Ronaldo has seamlessly slotted into and expansive Portugal set-up under Martinez, silencing the doubters with a staggering ten goals in nine Euro 2024 qualifiers. He outperformed Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Braut Haaland, with only Belgium's Romelu Lukaku netting more goals (14) during qualification for the tournament.

While some people might advocate for handing the reins to younger players such as Ramos, Ronaldo's current form cannot be ignored.

His club season at Al-Nassr has been phenomenal - 36 goals and 12 assists in 37 appearances speaks volumes. He shows no signs of slowing down, and his experience could prove invaluable for a Portugal side brimming with young talent.

The "next generation" boasts a midfield orchestra of Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes, along with attacking talents in the form of Rafael Leão and João Félix. With Ronaldo leading the line, Portugal possesses a potent mix of experience and youthful exuberance that is capable of taking the continent by storm in Germany.

Martinez enjoyed a feathered landing with a favourable qualifying draw alongside Slovakia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, but his team still dismantled every opponent in their path. They're fancied to repeat that dominance at the Euros when they take on Turkey, Czechia and Georgia in Group F.

Can Ronaldo defy the sands of time and lead Portugal to glory in Germany? Based on his current form, the answer is a resounding "Yes".

The greatest player of all time needs to silence doubters again, and what better way than to do it than on the biggest stage in continental football?

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal captain and legend

Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Al Nassr is on April 19, against Al Feiha for the Saudi Pro League. You can watch Al Nassr vs Al Feiha, Manchester City vs Real Madrid, Barcelona vs PSG, Atalanta vs Liverpool, Bayern Munich vs Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund vs Atletico Madrid, all matches provided from our football live game pages.

Al Nassr next game:
Al Nassr vs Al Feiha
kick-off time (19-04-2023):

Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+8: 22:00
India (New Delhi) |
UTC/GMT+5.30: 20:30
Saudi Arabia
(Riyadh) | UTC/GMT+3: 18:00
(Madrid) | UTC/GMT+2: 17:00
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+1: 16:00
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 12:00
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-3: 12:00
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-6: 09:00

Sources: / /

Cristiano Ronaldo happy holding another trophy for Portugal




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