It was early October in Lisbon when four friends hitchhiked to Qatar with the ultimate goal of seeing Cristiano Ronaldo in what would undoubtedly be his last performance on the world’s biggest stage. They rode through the mountains of Saudi Arabia and rode ski lifts in 13 countries, but undoubtedly the highlight was to join the thousands of other adoring fans who made their own journeys to witness Ronaldo become the first man to score on five Football World Cup.
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It was a beautiful moment, the 37-year-old beaming after scoring Portugal’s first goal of the tournament from a penalty in a victory over Ghana. He left Manchester United in a rage, but natural order was restored with Portugal: Ronaldo was breaking records, and the traveling four, waving a piece of cardboard with his name, satisfied their ambitions.
Back in Lisbon, where his ascent to five Ballon d’Or began 20 years ago, some pragmatists have suggested that Portugal are better off without him, and observers have argued that the striker’s legacy has been tarnished by an interview with Piers Morgan. But on the front pages of newspapers and in the minds of many fans, Ronaldo was still hailed as the football immortal of his country.
“Whenever we say we’re from Portugal, the next words we hear are ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’, says podcaster Filipe Inglés. He is probably the most famous person in the world. Whenever it moves to the left, everyone moves to the left. he moves to the right, everyone moves to the right. The moment he scores a goal, everyone goes into euphoria.”
But football moves fast, even for someone with a long and illustrious career like Ronaldo. His anger at boss Fernando Santos when he was substituted in the final group match against South Korea swayed public opinion. A poll in the national sports newspaper A Bola found that 70% of those polled wanted the country’s top scorer to stay out of the last 16 matches against Switzerland. Santos, who expressed his own dissatisfaction with Ronaldo’s actions, agreed.
“Ronaldo is an absolute hero for Portuguese and football fans, Portuguese or not, Portuguese journalist Hugo Pedro Queiroz told BBC Radio 5 Live. Here in Qatar you see it every day. understand that every star has its twilight and Ronaldo’s twilight is coming. Father Time is relentless, and you cannot defeat him.”
The same determination that has propelled Ronaldo to the top may also mean he is the last to see his own twilight. But watching from the bench at least for the first 73 minutes as Portugal put in their most devastating game without him may have pushed the penny closer to the edge, if Goncalo Ramos’ stunning hat-trick hadn’t already sent him down.
“Cristiano Ronaldo will always be Cristiano Ronaldo the best there ever was, former Portugal teammate José Fonte told BBC Radio 5 Live. Let’s not forget what he did for us and who he still is. Just leaving the bench creates problems for the opposition.”
Looking through the lens of the voracious press, his lower lip swollen like an injured toddler, Ronaldo in a spare vest was a rare vulnerability. He was used to spotlights, but not this spotlight. It was the first time since 2008 that he had not started a major tournament game and Ronaldo was no doubt unhappy. The Portuguese Football Federation even felt it necessary to release a statement denying that he had threatened to leave the camp. However, as teammate Bruno Fernandes joked, which player would be happy to sit on the bench?
“He means so much to Portugal, former team-mate Ricardo Rocha told the BBC. But he is not in the best phase and footballers sometimes go through this in their careers. The manager proved that it was the best choice because we put on a fantastic performance. Ronaldo is focused on the national team; he knows how important it is for us and when Portugal wins, everyone wins he understands that. He continues to inspire other players, is still an example. player.”
Along with Ronaldo, Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo and AC Milan striker Rafael Leão were among the substitutes, showing great depth at Santos’ disposal. On the field, stepping out of the shadow of their great talisman, Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and 39-year-old defender Pepe came to the fore as leaders.
“They are one of the best Portuguese teams, Rocha adds. The quality we have, experienced players, players who are in the best years of their careers in Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes. in. They prove their quality by bringing a lot of good to the national team.”
Excitement in Portugal ahead of the tournament was low, in part because people were busy with the domestic season, but also because, despite winning Euro 2016 and the 2019 Nations League, critics called Santos’ football boring. It used to be romantic we played a beautiful game, but we never won anything, adds Ingles. Santos changed his mindset to let’s just do our job.
‘Ronaldo’s legacy will still be cherished’
However, the boss loosened the leash to crush Switzerland and is expected to use this offensive talent again in Saturday’s quarter-final against Morocco (1500 GMT). He was my manager at Benfica and a great person. He knows the game, he gave me freedom and confidence, says Rocha. But he is, as you say, a bit pragmatic and cautious in his approach to the game.
He is a good coach for the job. He demands a lot from the players, but he has a good relationship with the players. Something has changed in the last game. It was not an easy decision, but it was the moment he felt he needed to change something – and he was right. For more know about Football World Cup Tickets.
Fans set off fireworks in Lisbon after the game, and Expresso journalist Diogo Pombo says faith in this is growing across the country. Portugal played the way Fernando Santos said he wanted them to play from the start – more attacking, with all the talented and most creative players playing at the same time, he says. people are really excited.
But if Portugal are to become champions in Qatar World Cup, where does that leave Ronaldo?
If Ronaldo is on the bench for the next three matches and Portugal wins the Football World Cup even if he doesn’t play in the final, his legacy will still be intact, adds Pombo, reflecting on Ronaldo’s contribution after his Euro 2016 injury. the final.
“He would still have captained the first Portugal team to win the Football World Cup. He would still be the best and most powerful player the country has ever had. field, it would be very good for the captain of the national team. He will continue to provide valuable support and show all his leadership qualities. If he manages to focus on it and have such an attitude, his legacy will certainly still be cherished.”
Portugal release statement in response to claims Ronaldo ‘threatened to leave the national team’
Portugal issued a statement in response to allegations in the press that Cristiano Ronaldo had threatened to leave the national team. Ronaldo appeared to react angrily to being substituted in Portugal’s loss to South Korea in their Group H final, despite the former Manchester United striker claiming he was annoyed by what an opposing player told him.
Fernando Santos then turned down Ronaldo in the last 16 match against Switzerland, in which striker’s replacement Gonzalo Ramos scored a hat-trick in a 6–1 win. Santos admitted after the match against South Korea that he did not like Ronaldo’s reaction to leaving the Portuguese on CMTV, insisting that the 37-year-old told the Portugal coach: You’re in a hell of a hurry to get me out.
And the Portuguese newspaper Record said that Ronaldo was so angry about being left in the match with Switzerland that he had a falling out with Santos and asked him to leave the national team. But Portugal felt it necessary to release a statement to refute those claims ahead of their quarter-final clash with Morocco on Saturday.
The statement read: News released on Thursday claims that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave the national team while speaking with national coach Fernando Santos. The FPF wants to clarify that the captain of the national team, Cristiano Ronaldo, never once threatened to leave the national team during the tournament in Qatar.
“Cristiano Ronaldo continues to build on his unique track record with the national team, which must be respected and shows his undeniable commitment to the national team. The statement added: The national team players, coaches and the structure of the FPF are fully committed and enthusiastic, as they have been from day one, in creating what we hope will be the best Football World Cup in the history of Portugal.”
Gary Neville has urged Ronaldo to stop the irritability that has plagued the final stages of his career since leaving Manchester United by mutual agreement last month. Well, what happened at United was supposed to be because [Eric] Ten Hag was trying to influence him, he was trying to establish his authority, Neville told ITV. It’s the manager [Santos] who has had an incredible relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo for eight years.
And there are many fans of Cristiano Ronaldo who do not want to tell him the truth. I think he really needs to hear the truth that this is getting a little sloppy ending. It wouldn’t surprise me if he came out tonight and scored the winning goal, but the irritability, stomping and sulking should stop because it doesn’t reflect on him at all.
His long-term legacy is established, he is protected. He is one of the greatest players of all time, but in the short term he should play a lot better. Juventus manager wrong? Was the Manchester United manager wrong? And now the coach of the Portuguese national team is wrong? Three of them did the same to him.
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