Cristiano Ronaldo made World Cup history as always in the spotlight

It has been 36 years since the last time a footballer led the national team in the men’s championship. world Cup not yet registered with the club.

I’m sure you already knew the answer to that question in the pub, but just in case, it was Canadian cornerback Bruce Wilson at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. These were different times, which emphasizes the fact CanadaThe last group stage match of that campaign was a loss to the USSR.

Cristiano Ronaldo born just a year earlier and still wearing diapers when Wilson played the final World Cup in the summer of ’86.

However, here in Doha, a very peculiar spectacle has taken place: the five-time Ballon d’Or winner started the World Cup as a free agent with no ties, hoping to impress fans with the fast-approaching January transfer window. About an hour into the game, Sky Sports reported that Ronaldo was showing interest from Saudi club Al-Hilal after he turned down a transfer to Gulf State over the summer.

But this came moments after a very different view of Ronaldo’s career emerged. Shortly after the hour mark, he became the first male player to score in five World Cups, which, whatever we may think of his recent antics, is an absolutely outstanding achievement. His Portugal Manager Fernando Santos said afterwards that Ronaldo is the player we will be talking about in 50 years.

Cristiano Ronaldo 2006

Ronaldo has been scoring at World Cups since 2006 (Photo: Getty Images)

Now at 37 years old, this will likely be Ronaldo’s last appearance on the world football stage. Even now, in his fading state, he still makes you watch. It was also another one of those days when those tired of Ronaldo’s sideline performances might wonder if his numbers almost rose, but it was another demonstration of Ronaldo’s enduring appeal on the world stage. There were fans in Qatar who came only to see Ronaldo gasping and gasping at his tricks, with Ronaldo masks on their faces. And the biggest miracle, when he opened the score, there was even a rather noisy atmosphere in the stadium.

After he eclipsed the preparations for the World Cup by setting fire to his relationship with Manchester UnitedRonaldo said this week that he is “bulletproof and made of iron”.

However, at the 974 Stadium, the body armor slipped off briefly, and some of Ronaldo’s vulnerabilities came to the fore. During the performance of the Portuguese national anthem, his eyes seemed to wet, and it robbed him of that superhero caricature he loves to display.

On the pitch this season, Ronaldo hastened his death row. Wearing the colors of Manchester United, he recorded as many yellow cards as he scored goals – three apiece – and two of his goals were scored against Sheriff in Europa League. Ronaldo’s last start came almost three weeks ago when he played a disappointing 90 minutes in a 3-1 loss Aston Villa.

In many ways, it was a performance that epitomized the Ronaldo we’ve seen lately. Obsessed with the prospect of a goal but irritated by his own extravagance, Ronaldo looked upset until his penalty opened the scoring. Ronaldo’s closest allies in the media, especially former United players, often say he guarantees goals if there’s a chance, but that hasn’t been as clear this season as it has been here.

For all the megalomania that can surround Ronaldo, there is something endearing about the childlike excitement he retains as he represents and leads his country. Some of this may be due to arrogance and his personal desire to lift the World Cup, but he also conveys the collective spirit in Portuguese colors.

By the end of that game, Ronaldo, who had been watching from the bench after being taken off in the 88th minute, was in the orange jersey and was in charge backstage behind Santos in the dugout.

Unsurprisingly, given his inactivity and off-field distractions, Ronaldo started this game a bit rusty. His first contribution was a late call for which you could get a reservation. He did look like the most likely Portuguese player to score a goal, even though the chances he could have swallowed before eluded him.

When he shot on goal early on, his first touch was free and that allowed Ghana goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi stifle the opportunity. Ronaldo then reminded us of his steady physicality, hovering high, hovering in the air, but heading off target. There were reminders of his waning powers, in part because he seemed slow to get to one. Bruno Fernandes a pass, and then he lacked a quick change of pace to deceive the opponent, which meant the shot was blocked.

As early odds went awry, the match went into a period of non-existence. Joao Felix’s cross was scored, but Ronaldo raised his hand in gratitude. During the break, frowning, the captain was the first of the Portuguese to descend into the tunnel.

Eventually, Ronaldo’s moment came, although it was highly controversial when he bit in front of the Ghana defender. Mohammed Salisu and earned a penalty. Video replays prompted Southampton the defender may have touched the ball, but there was no vision. Ronaldo buried the penalty and raced to the corner of the stadium, stunning the crowd with his signature siuuuu celebration, and as a bonus, he performed his pirouette in front of a draped flag Lionel Messi. Ronaldo may be divided around the world, but among the Portuguese national team he maintains his high status, with bib-wearing substitutes rushing to the touchline to attack their leader.

Ghanaian manager Otto Addo was less impressed. He thought his player won the ball and couldn’t believe the decision hadn’t been overturned. “I don’t know if VAR didn’t pay attention,” he said. “If you watch the replay, we were playing ball. It was actually a foul against us.”

Addo demanded to see referee Ismail Elfat to explain the decision, but said: “I tried and asked some people from FIFA if I could talk to the judge calmly and quietly. They said he was in a meeting and that was impossible.”

When asked about the game, Ronaldo Addo said: “If someone scores a goal, congratulations. But it was a real gift. A special gift from the judge.”

There was a lot of fun in the stadium. The fans sang their hero’s name and the football match began, with Ronaldo scoring the first of five goals in the last half hour. That single penalty kick was enough to earn him the Man of the Match award, despite his former Manchester United teammate Fernandes scoring two goals to become the standout player of the night.

As man of the match, Ronaldo was required to attend a press conference afterwards, which seemed quite exciting after his recent dramatic performances. However, this time his performance lasted only two minutes and 12 seconds. There was time for two questions, and one of them was from the FIFA mediator, who invited him to think about performance in five World Cups. Ronaldo said it was “beautiful”, “a world record” and he is justifiably proud of it. One issue was then resolved for a Ghanaian journalist who intervened in the fray with the name of Manchester United. Ronaldo said “the chapter is closed”, adding that “it’s done”.

As he then passed through the mixed zone—a zone where journalists can ask players to stop for interviews—grown men and women from the media leaned over the barriers to block his path, begging for photos. “Please! This is my dream!” one of those present said.

On the pitch, Ronaldo never lost sight of even when young Portuguese talents such as Fernandes, Felix and Rafael Leo later demonstrated their talent. Even Ghana’s best moments are tied to Ronaldo, as Osman Buhari, who scored Ghana’s second goal in the 89th minute, celebrated his header by rolling away and performing his own Sioux celebration to emulate Ronaldo.

Ronaldo, by then watching from the sidelines after being substituted a minute earlier, raised his hand in desperation. He then played the role of assistant coach, which was reminiscent of his breathless hand gestures on the sidelines during Portugal’s victory over France in the final of Euro 2016.

After the final whistle, Ronaldo was back in the spotlight on the pitch, having a tense conversation with the Portugal goalkeeper. Diogo Costawhose loss of concentration nearly cost Portugal two points when Ink Williams crept up behind him and intercepted the ball before slipping at the last moment.

To some observers, Ronaldo chided his teammate. For others, it was an act of comfort. As always, his actions were open to interpretation. Once again, you couldn’t take your eyes off him.

(Top photo: Visionhaus//Getty Images)

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