• Analysis

Euro 2021: Why will Ronaldo make a difference?

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“Portugal won European Championship. I am not getting it. I am struggling to figure out how is Portuguese football going to benefit the world.”

Those were the commentator’s last words after the 2016 European Championship final match, when Portugal beat France 1:0. Be honest! Did you expect that? If you say “Yes, I did”, let me ask you another question. Would you bet big on Portugal before the Championship started?

I however remember one more sentence related to the final match. “Such a pussy”! In the pub, there was a guy standing next to me watching it. The sentence was addressed to Ronaldo’s tears, when he was forced to leave the pitch only 25 minutes minutes in the game. But the marathon of irritation was only about to begin. For a big majority of non-Portuguese football fans, it must have been (and from what I saw, it definitely was) extremely hard not to be irritated watching Ronaldo being the “self-proclaimed coach”. From the bench, next to the real coach Fernando Santos, there was Ronaldo. Basically all the time.

Little bit of history

Now it is time to put the emotions away and look at facts. Year 2003 was the one, when Ronaldo impressed Fergusson and signed with Manchester United. Within only 3 seasons grew Ronaldo to become a stable part of the squad, when in the season 2006/07 he managed to score 17 goals ending with an impressive total count of 292 goals before moving to LaLiga. 

For Real Madrid he scored 292 goals within 8 seasons – with the 48 goals peak in 2014/15, before moving to Juventus. And he still has it! Many so-called experts are calling him too old, but somehow his records in Serie A are slightly below 1 goal per game. Which is great, in the case you are not sure by the meaning of the number. Latest rumors suggest Ronaldo having picked his next club. We’ll find out soon if that’s true.

There must be an end to it

Cristiano Ronaldo has money, fame, he made history… What else does he want? What is the engine behind his drive? The answer is simpler than one might think. It is his ego that drives him to become even greater than the greatest. Do you judge ego being a bad thing? Let me tell you a secret: Combine big ego with the right focus and effort and you are likely to become yet another Greatest of all time (GOAT).

Yes. There must be an end to Ronaldo’s career one day, but no one knows when this might be. I hope he will inspire many new players in the upcoming generations and to answer the question from the beginning “What is Portugese football going to give to the World”, I dare to have an answer. Inspiration. Inspiration that right effort is going to take you to your goals – No matter how small or big they are.

What about Ronaldo and the European Championship 2021

During the 2021 European Championship Ronaldo will be 36 and certainly one of the oldest players on the tournament. Is Ronaldo today better or worse than Ronaldo from 5 years ago? Let’s poke into it a bit. After comparing his emotional states from years ago and now, I see progress. I see more of a “team soul”, I see more wisdom, I see peace… Football is not being played with feet, but just like all other sports with heads. I see positive changes in his head, while the ego engine has still enough fuel to make a difference. The football predictions for Portugal national team based on the latest results speak a clear language. Portugal is equal or even slightly better than the strongest opponents.

Have a look. 2:3 win over Croatia, 0:1 loss to France, 3:0 win over Sweden or the 7:0 Armageddon to Andorra are good proof that Portugal is a team that might take the title. Now back to the most important question. Is Portugal going to defend the title? The short answer is: Most likely not. This is not any kind of sarcasm or hypocrisy, but the chances of the best team (no matter what team we are talking about) winning the title is below 30%. Football is statistics and statistics is a bitch. This means that if an underdog has only about 10% chances of winning, it still might happen in the next game… or the next Championship.