There’s no question that Ronaldo is one of the greatest strikers of all time, but his latest battles with Manchester United and Portugal have raised many questions as to whether his brilliant career is nearing a bitter end.
Ronaldo is the top scorer in the history of international men’s football with 117 goals in 191 official matches.
18 years have passed between his first goal in Portugal against Greece at Euro 2004 and his most recent, a double against Switzerland in June 2022, making him a model of endurance.
He has scored 818 goals in his career and holds the record for most Champions League goals in league history with 140.
However, for a model athlete who got used to breaking records playing for some of the biggest clubs in the world such as Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United, his current form and attitude have been in the spotlight.
His brace against the Swiss in the Nations League were his only goals in the 10 games Portugal has played in the past year.
With United, he has only scored three goals this season and his troubles with manager Erik ten Hag have made headlines, with Ronaldo struggling to get into the starting squad and expressing dismay at the lack of minutes.
He was United’s top scorer last season with 24 goals in all competitions after joining Juventus. His contract expires in June 2023, although United have an option to extend it for another year.
In his fifth World Cup, Ronaldo will arrive to captain a squad of standout players widely regarded as some of the best in the world, but who have arguably underperformed on the biggest podium.
After reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2006, they were eliminated twice in the last 16 (2010 and 2018) and in the group stage in 2014.
But while the impression is that Ronaldo’s brilliant path is coming to an end, he begs to be different.
“There’s a little bit more of Cristiano left. I’m part of a young team, I want to be at the World Cup, but also at the next European Championship,” said Ronaldo at an event in Portugal in September.
A ruthless mentality that could be the key to making a statement against all odds with his country in Qatar.