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Cristiano Ronaldo makes a special request for FIFA World Cup playoff final

Cristiano Ronaldo
© Selecao Portugal

The Portugal captain spoke to reporters in a press conference ahead of the World Cup Path C playoff final against North Macedonia.

Cristiano Ronaldo has asked his Portugal teammates and fans to sing the national anthem without music for their 2022 FIFA World Cup playoff final.

In a winner-take-all game on Tuesday, Portugal face North Macedonia in the  Path C play-off final on Tuesday. With home advantage, plus a squad ladened with talent and experience, Fernando Santos’ men are the odds-on favorites to win the final in Porto.

But while speaking to reporters at a pre-match press conference, Ronaldo made a special request to help spur the team to victory all the same.

“I would love for the anthem to start playing and then stop so that all of us – players and fans – could sign without the music,” said the Portugal captain.

“So we can feel the heart, the energy, and positivity. I’m asking for this to happen. I’m sure that if the fans are with us, like they were on Thursday [against Turkey], we’ll win.”

‘I don’t think they will surprise us tomorrow’

North Macedonia have performed above expectations, even eliminating European champions Italy in the playoff semi-finals last week. They now hope to spoil Ronaldo’s hopes of a record-equalling fifth World Cup appearance in 2022 by winning Tuesday’s final.

“We were surprised,” Ronaldo admitted of the  Balkan side’s 1-0 semi-final victory over Italy.

“North Macedonia has surprised in many matches. But I don’t think they will surprise us tomorrow. Portugal will play better and we will make it to the World Cup.”

He continued: “We know that if we win, we will go to the World Cup. If we lose, we are out. We have the responsibility to be positive and win the match. I see everyone well prepared and wanting to be at their best tomorrow.”

“There is no World Cup without Portugal,” Ronaldo added.

CR7 shuts down retirement talk

The player with the most international goals in football history will be 41 by the time of the next World Cup in 2026.

But Ronaldo didn’t want to talk about the possibility of his future and made it clear to the press that he is the only one who will decide when he hangs up his boots.

“If I feel like playing, I will keep playing,” Ronaldo said. “If I don’t, I won’t.”

At the time of writing, Portugal are the clear favorites to win the World Cup play-off final. Bet365 has them priced at 1.20 to win in Porto, which implies they have an 83% chance of victory.