Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, having won many awards and broken just as many records. He currently plays as a forward for the Saudi Professional League club Al Nassr and Portugal’s national team.
Unfortunately, Ronaldo’s age has caught up with him, and he can no longer play at the same level he used to. Many football enthusiasts still can’t accept this fact and were really shocked when he transferred from Manchester United to Al Nassr.
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After having a huge dispute with Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag, Ronaldo had an interview with famous English journalist Piers Morgan where he made some bold accusations about the coach. He claimed that Ten Hag didn’t respect him after benching him for so many games when he was promised he would get a lot of game time.
After the Manchester United incident, he again got the same treatment from Portugal’s coach in the World Cup. He only played one full game and was a substitute for the rest of the tournament. The press took advantage of this and circulated rumors about the footballer having another dispute with the Portugal team.
After the World Cup drama, many football fans are divided over whether Portugal needs Ronaldo to qualify for the next World Cup or if they’re better off without him. Let’s find out if the country can survive without him and who can fill his role.
Is Portugal Better Off Without Him?
This is a question that many fans have been asking ever since the country won the UEFA Nations League back in 2018. Ronaldo did not participate in the tournament up until the semi-finals, where he scored a hat trick against Switzerland, allowing the country to qualify for the finals.
You can agree that he somehow helped them win the tournament, but Portugal was already doing fine without him. The best footballer in the tournament was his teammate Bernardo Silva, who was unbelievable in that tournament. Many Portuguese fans were happy that they didn’t need to rely on Ronaldo to win a contest; they saw that their country had many stars that could do the job.
Over the years, Portugal has produced many great footballers who play in the biggest clubs in the world. Soccer players like Bruno Fernandes have made a huge difference in the clubs they’re signed to.
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Almost every big club in the Premier League has an outstanding Portuguese footballer. Famous football club Wolves are known for connecting with Portuguese soccer players. Over the past six years, the club has signed 19 Portuguese players, some of whom have outperformed and gone on to play in other big teams.
As you can see, the country has many stars, and they have shown that they have the potential to carry Portugal to the World Cup. However, Ronaldo has played a key role in the country for the past two decades. He has participated in five World Cup and UEFA Euro tournaments and has greatly helped his team.
Let’s see what the player has accomplished with the country.
Ronaldo’s Achievements With Portugal
Besides being the all-time international goal scorer in men’s football, Ronaldo has a lot of records with Portugal. Here are some of them:
- He’s the only Portuguese footballer to have appeared in four World Cups and scored in each.
- He has scored the most hat tricks for the national side (10)
- He is Portugal’s all-time top goal-scorer.
- He’s the oldest footballer to score for Portugal.
Since his debut in 2006, he has done nothing but help his country. He’s the reason why they won the UEFA Euro back in 2016, and even though he was injured in the final, he didn’t give up and coached his team from the sidelines. He’s always been passionate about his country, and even when he was benched in the 2022 World Cup, he still cheered them on.
It’s unfortunate that he’s gotten to an age where he can’t give his all for Portugal. But this doesn’t mean the country will fall. Many Portuguese players look up to him, so they’ll do everything to continue his legacy.
What’s Next For Ronaldo?
As for now, his mission is to make the Saudi Professional League more known to the world. His influence will allow the league to attract more fans and footballers. There have already been rumours that many players are trying to join the league, especially those about to retire.
According to Al Nassr head coach Rudi Garcia, Ronaldo is still planning to return to Europe and continue playing there. He’s the all-time leading top scorer in the Champions League, so we’re sure he would like to add more goals to his record.
Cristiano Ronaldo has made immeasurable contributions to his national team, and it would be hard for any player to fill his shoes. However, with how things are looking, it’s likely that Ronaldo won’t participate in the next World Cup in 2026, which is okay because Portugal can still survive without him. Many forwards like Diogo Jota and João Félix can fill his position and lead their country to the finals.