As the initiation of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar approaches, fans across the globe are filled with teeming anticipation, but also a lingering feeling in the gut.
As we welcome the thrilling young prospects making their World Cup debut, such as Germany’s 17-year-old Moukoko, we also say goodbye to some footballing legends who will make their world cup outing for the last time.
Amongst them, making a World Cup appearance for an astounding fifth time is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo – one of the all-time greats.
After a slow start to the season at Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United, Ronaldo will be desperate to cement his legacy within the fabric of football iconicity. Having watched United from the bench for most of the season, scepticism surrounds the Portuguese player’s ability to turn it on for the World Cup.
Following on from their revenge-fuelled double clash with Aston Villa, Ronaldo will welcome time on the bench as he looks to remain injury free before the tournament kicks off. The thrilling match up – which ended with a last-minute winner from Scottish international Scott McTominay to seal the deal – came just over a year after the reds’ historic loss to Villa in the 2021-2022 season saw a seasonal high in streaming figures. With Ronaldo’s established following, it’s probably reasonable to expect he’ll bring in big numbers when it comes to streaming.
After an electric performance in game two of the clash, Argentine teenager Alejandro Garnacho will look forward to his first call-up when it comes. From playing with Ronaldo at club level to Messi at international level, the winger’s role models leave little to be desired.
With Portugal and Argentina resting on two sides of the tournament, the possibility of a Ronaldo vs Messi World Cup final is not out of the question. The prospect is a tantalising one, sparking pure anticipation in the hearts of football fans around the world. While the pair have made clear, the rivalry is one formulated and exaggerated by the media, the thought of watching the two face off in a final, epic showdown is a mouth-watering one, nonetheless.
For the Ronaldo doubters out there, though, just how well has Ronaldo performed in the previous four international tournaments?
Playing 17 games across the four tournaments, Ronaldo has found the back of the net seven times. He has started every game since the start of his world cup career and captained the side in every match following the 1st tournament.
Having won just about everything there is to win at club level, leading his nation to victory in the biggest tournament in the world will be the superstars top priority, and we can bet that he will put every ounce of his being into realising his dream.
After watching his side win the Euros from the side-lines following a mid-game injury in the final, he will be desperate to be on the pitch – and winning.
If there’s anything we can learn from Ronaldo’s incredible career, it’s that we should never doubt the man or his abilities.
Through everything, he continues to defy the laws of probability with his continuous success, and he shows no signs of stopping. Whether your #TeamRonaldo or #TeamMessi, they want to see both incredible individuals succeed for their nations is overwhelming. Only time will tell – bring on the World Cup!