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Could the World Cup be Ronaldo’s Portugal farewell?

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Cristiano Ronaldo will play in his fifth FIFA World Cup for Portugal in Qatar and at the age of 37, this will surely be his final edition of the tournament and perhaps his final major tournament of all.

Despite failing to nail down a starting spot for Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United this season, he certainly still has plenty to offer for his home nation after recording 18 Premier League goals and netting six times in the UEFA Champions League in 2021/22.

Portugal has been dealt a major injury blow in the lead-up to the tournament with Diogo Jota being ruled out long-term and so the impetus will be even more so on Ronaldo to lead his country once again and possibly finally become a world champion.

Ronaldo vs Messi

The World Cup this winter will also likely be Lionel Messi’s final tournament, and the two who have been hugely competitive in terms of individual accolades throughout their career are both looking to achieve team success for their home nation this time around.

Both play for two of the top nations in the form of Portugal and Argentina. At Bodog, you can enjoy the best Canada World Cup Odds, including Portugal, who are offered at 14/1 to become champions of the world. Argentina, on the other hand, are seen as the bigger favourites at 5/1. Brazil is the outright favourite at 4/1 and will present the strongest opposition to both stars’ chances of making history in Qatar.

The only accolade be it individual or of the team variety that evades either legendary player is the FIFA World Cup and if either could claim it in the Middle East in December, it would be legacy-defining and would eclipse almost anything they have achieved prior in their careers.

Analysing Portugal’s chances

Portugal, as mentioned, is one of the favourites going into the tournament, but some of the typical heavyweight nations are viewed to be marginally stronger this year. In terms of the Selecao’s group, it will certainly not be straightforward, and progressing to the knockouts is far from a dead certainty.

Uruguay provides the strongest opposition as they are a young and exciting squad boosted by the experience of the likes of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Ghana also features who boast the likes of Inaki Williams after he pledged his international allegiances to the country of his parent’s homeland. South Korea also typically performs well at World Cup, with Heung Min Son having dealt the killer blow that sent Germany home in the groups of 2018.

If Portugal are to navigate a path to the latter stages then aside from the likes of Brazil and Argentina; England and France are some of the heavy favourites. Despite the Three Lions’ poor form in the UEFA Nations League, they still have one of the strongest squads and one of the best strikers in the world in Harry Kane.

France are also very strong despite the injury crisis they have faced, demonstrative of the depth of the French national pool. Picking an outright winner at the tournament is incredibly difficult. But Ronaldo is certainly in with a chance of leading Portugal to glory in his final ever World Cup tournament.