Despite his age, 5 times Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has been selected for the Portuguese national squad for Portugal’s upcoming UEFA Euro qualifier matches.
The 38-year-old’s performance in the 2022 World Cup was lackluster. Fernando Santos, Portugal’s manager during the World Cup, benched him in favor of Benfica’s youngster Goncalo Ramos in the team’s quarterfinal match against Morocco because of his poor play. Due to the loss in that game, Portugal was eliminated from the tournament, and the manager’s decision was heavily criticized.
However, it looks like the current manager Roberto Martinez will be relying on the Al-Nassr forward once again in Portugal’s Euro qualifying campaign. He believes that the 5x Champions League winner is still hungry for adding more trophies to his cabinet.
— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) March 18, 2023
“Cristiano Ronaldo is a very committed player. He can bring experience and is a very important figure for the team. I don’t look at age,” Martinez said to the press.
The selection puts Cristiano Ronaldo in a position to break the record for most international caps by a player. At the moment, he is tied for first with Bader Al-Mutawa of Kuwait; the two of them have made 196 appearances for their respective national teams. However, Cristiano will be getting ahead in Portugal’s upcoming match against Lichtenstein on March 24.
Why is Cristiano Ronaldo so important to Portugal?
In 2016, Portugal won the European Championships, and Cristiano Ronaldo was a major reason why. He scored only three goals during the tournament, but he was a constant threat throughout the tournament.
In the final, Cristiano was substituted out in the early game after suffering from a knee injury. Despite this setback, Cristiano went on to motivate the team from the sidelines.
The final match finished 1-0 after Eder scored an excellent header in the 109th minute.
Additionally, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 118 goals in 196 international appearances, making him the all-time leading international goal scorer. He is a proven player with expertise, leadership, and technicality. His selection to the team is therefore a foregone conclusion, despite the fact that he is 38 years old.
- Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning free kick for Al Nassr proves he still got his magical touch as fans hail his continued brilliance.
Who else is selected?
The Portugal National Team announced the full squad in a recent Twitter post from their official account. The 26-man squad features many star players, namely Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo, and Ruben Dias. Liverpool’s Diogo Jota makes a return to the squad after suffering a four-month-long calf injury.
— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) March 17, 2023
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