We celebrate the incredible career that Cristiano Ronaldo had with the Portugal squad, he made his debut 16 years ago to this day.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of those rare players who was wildly successful with both his national team and his clubs, his career with Portugal started 16 years ago today.
It all began when he was called up to face Kazakhstan, he made his debut against that squad and he was later called up to represent Portugal in the 2004 European Championship.
This competition was actually the one that pushed Ronaldo into stardom, he played throughout the whole tournament and helped his squad reach the final.
This first tournament was also the first experience that Cristiano had with defeat, something that made him understand the value of winning a title even more.
At the start of his international career, Ronaldo never imagined the magnitude of his influence in his national team during the next 15 years.
Before Ronaldo came to represent Portugal, we had both Eusebio and Pauleta as the all-time goal scorers for the national team but Cristiano would come and obliterate both of their records in the next decade.
Today, we have a legendary player who is edging the 90 goals with his country and could reach 100 before he decides to retire from international football.
🇵🇹 Cristiano Ronaldo made his @selecaoportugal debut on this day in 2003! 🙌
🧢 158 caps
⚽️ 88 goals
🏆 EURO 2016
🏆 Nations League pic.twitter.com/PYVYRXmcCY
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@UEFAEURO) August 20, 2019
Ronaldo’s success with Portugal.
After many different attempts to win a title with Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo finally got his chance to play another final that would grant him a little revenge from that 2004 heartbreak.
During the 2016 European Championship in France, Cristiano Ronaldo took Portugal all the way to the final against the host of the competition.
When the day of that last match came, Cristiano suffered an unexpected injury that took him away from the game and made him leave the pitch in tears.
Ronaldo couldn’t believe his bad luck, he would have to rely on his teammates to give him his very first title with Portugal.
Fortunately for him, all the players from his squad understood the importance of playing a final without their biggest player in history.
Cristiano remained on the sidelines for the rest of the game, shouting instructions to all his teammates.
The final went into extra time and it was decided by a lonely goal from Eder during the second extra time.
Everybody believed that the match would go into a dramatic penalty shootout, but Portugal had the last laugh and Ronaldo was finally able to lift his first title with the national team.
After doing so much for his country, Cristiano finally got his reward and won the trophy that sets him apart from Messi.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@UEFAEURO) August 19, 2019
The reason Ronaldo can be compared to Pele and Maradona.
Many Barcelona fans keep placing Lionel Messi as the best player in history without a real reason, the Argentine did win all the titles with his club but he hasn’t done the same for Argentina.
Those who dare compare him with Pele and Maradona refuse to see this obvious inconsistency, this hardly makes Leo the best player in history.
The truth is that Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player from the modern era who deserves this comparison, perhaps only he and Zidane can be considered at the same level than the other two legends.
Contrary to Messi, Ronaldo already won two different titles with his national team and he is still going strong with a squad that is producing some impressive new talents.
Cristiano will go into his veteran years with Portugal, knowing that he has talents such as Bernardo Silva and Joao Felix to accompany him in the last years of his incredible international career.
We can expect Ronaldo to perform in the upcoming UEFA Euros 2020, which might be the last competition he plays for his country.
With the squad he has around him this time around, we may see Ronaldo perhaps winning a fresh title with his national team before he inevitably decides to hang up his boots.
— Versus Magazine SV (@MagazineVersus) August 20, 2019
How would you describe Cristiano Ronaldo’s career with Portugal so far? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.