At the age of 37, Cristiano Ronaldo is breaking records and proving that he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing is certain except death and taxes.” Franklin died more than 200 years ago, which makes sense because if he were alive, he would recognize the third certainty of life: Cristiano Ronaldo scoring goals in the FIFA World Cup. After his goal against Ghana, Cristiano Ronaldo made history and became the first men’s footballer to score a goal in five World Cups.
Ronaldo was a force on the pitch throughout his illustrious career with a knack for finding the back of the net. He scored his first World Cup goal way back in 2006 at the age of 21. Since then, he has scored at least one goal in every World Cup and following the opening goal in Portugal’s 3-2 victory over Ghana, Ronaldo became the first men’s player to score in five different FIFA World Cups.
After a scoreless first half, in which a Ronaldo goal was reversed after a foul in the run-up, the pace picked up in the second half of the game. In the 65e minute, Ronaldo was brought down in the penalty area and won a penalty. Who else would rise to take it but the Portuguese captain himself? Ronaldo calmly cleared the penalty kick before running to the corner flag and handing out the famous Sui celebration.
Ghana clawed their way back into the match with an equalizer in the 73ed minute. But two more goals from Portugal’s Joao Felix and Portugal’s Rafael Leao put the game in no doubt before Ghana grabbed another late consolation goal. Portugal are now top of Group H with three points.
Ronaldo’s latest record proves that despite being at an age when most athletes would have already hung up their boots, he still has a lot in the tank. The superstar is at a turning point in his career. The 37-year-old defender parted ways with Manchester United earlier this week after he and his club reached a mutual agreement to terminate the star’s contract.
Ronaldo’s departure from Manchester United follows a disappointing season by his standards. Marked by controversial clashes with coaching staff, explosive interviews and poor on-field form that undermined a triumphant return to the club last season. Last week, Ronaldo lashed out at the Manchester United coach and owner group in a controversial interview, leading to his timely departure.
With claims that the star has finally started to show his age and slow down, Ronaldo is on a mission in Qatar to prove his doubters wrong. He hit back at claims that his departure from Manchester United would be a distraction after the win over Ghana. “The most important thing was that the team won. That chapter is closed and the focus is solely and exclusively on the World Cup.”
As a result of his contract being terminated, Ronaldo entered the World Cup as the only player of Qatar’s 831 players to be without a club. It is the first time since 2010 that such a case has occurred. Next month, Ronaldo’s next club will be the subject of rumours, but the star says he won’t let it distract him, or his team, from their ultimate goal of winning the world title. Cup.
Not everyone was happy with Ronaldo’s new record, especially Ghanaian coach Otto Addo. Addo had some bitter words for the match officials in a post-match interview, claiming that the decision to award Portugal a penalty was “a special gift from the referee”. Rather than applauding Ronaldo for his performance, Otto was understandably more concerned about the impact of the controversial goal on the outcome of the game. “It was the wrong decision. It was actually a foul against us,” he said.
In what will likely be his last World Cup, Ronaldo will need to keep scoring goals if he is to claim the one accolade missing from his extensive trophy cabinet: a World Cup victory.