Although in the 2021 ranking of the 100 Best Male Footballers in World put out by The Guardian, Cristiano Ronaldo had slipped all the way to eighth place — down from a third place ranking in the previous year — there is no denying the incredible resume the Portuguese phenom has amassed over his playing career.
In fact, now aged 37 years old, there is scarcely a sporting accolade he has not won. This includes five prestigious Ballon d’Or awards, four European Golden Shoes and 32 trophies including seven league titles, five UEFA Champions Leagues wins, a UEFA European Championship and a UEFA Nations League.
These wins are in addition to the various record-breaking playing stats he has tallied up. These include records for the most appearances, the most goals and assists in the Champions League, the most goals in the European Champions, the most international goals by a male player and the most international appearances. Ronaldo is also one of the few players to have amassed over 1,100 professional appearances in his career and over 800 senior career goals for his club and national team.
With all this in mind, it is suffice to say that whenever World Cup predictions are being made by analysts and wagerers around the world, Cristiano Ronaldo is a name that is never far from the betting slips.
This is equally true of the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup due to be held in Qatar this summer. With the qualification rounds already well under way, bettors looking to place their bets as early as possible have already identified Ronaldo as a star player.
Despite his incredibly illustrious playing career, however, Ronaldo has so far failed to secure a FIFA World Cup Championship. This is despite having participated in the competition four times in his playing career.
If Portugal manages to make it through the qualification rounds this year, Ronaldo will join an illustrious club of players who have notched up five World Cup appearances. Only three players in the history of the competition have appeared five times, including Lothar Matthaus for Germany, and Antonio Carbajal and Rafael Marquez for Mexico. Whether Ronaldo will be able to secure a sixth World Cup appearance in 2026 remains to be seen, especially considering that he will be well into his 40s by that stage.
A record that seems more achievable by contrast is that of the top goal scorer.
Ronaldo has already achieved this accolade in a number of different championship settings. He has, perhaps most importantly of all, secured a record as the top international goal scorer of all time in international competitions with a record of 115 international goals for Portugal. This puts him just ahead of Ali Daei in second place with 109 goals, and miles ahead of third place with 89 goals by Mokhtar Dahari.
Ronaldo secured this prestigious record in the Euro 2020 Championship, during which he was also awarded the top goal scorer record for that year’s competition with five goals. This record was jointly shared with Patrick Schick for Czechia. Portugal did not ultimately win the Championship.
With all that said, all eyes are on Ronaldo in the run up to this year’s World Cup and, in particular, what records and awards he looks set to win in what might be the final World Cup appearance of his career.
At the end of the 2018 World Cup, Ronaldo shared a joint second place with four goals to his name during the competition. This came well behind Harry Kane who secured the top spot with six goals.
With all this in mind, Ronaldo faces a huge amount of expectation in the run up to this year’s World Cup Championship.
However, Portugal’s participation in Qatar is by no means guaranteed, as they still need to qualify for the competition. Although they are not necessarily in the most challenging qualification group, this is no longer a certainty given Italy’s shock defeat to North Macedonia last week which resulted in them being booted out of the competition.
This is all the more shocking given that Italy is fresh off a Championship win during the 2020 Euros held last summer, where they put in a domineering performance. With Portugal due to face North Macedonia on March 29th, Cristiano Ronaldo’s fate hangs in the balance!