The 2018 World Cup will likely be the last for Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players of all time. The Portuguese superstar has won numerous individual awards and every trophy at the club level. However, Ronaldo has not had the same success representing his country.
Ronaldo helped Portugal win Euro 2016. However, he was injured and subbed off early in the final. In his three previous World Cups, Ronaldo has scored three goals. After finishing fourth in 2006, Portugal have regressed at the World Cup. In 2010, Portugal were eliminated in the round of 16 and in 2014 they failed to get out of the group stage.
The 2018 World Cup will likely be the last World Cup for 33-year-old Ronaldo. While it is not uncommon for players to play in the World Cup at age 37 or older, those players are usually keepers or play for significantly smaller and less talented nations than Portugal. Cameroon’s Roger Milla is the oldest player to ever score a goal in the World. Milla was 42 when he scored against Russia in the 1994 World Cup.
Ronaldo was dominant in World Cup qualifying. The Real Madrid superstar scored 15 goals in World Cup qualifying to get his country to Russia. Portugal are in Group B with Spain, Morocco and Iran. Spain and Portugal are favored to get out of the group stage. If the Portuguese are going to make a deep run in the knockout stage, they will need Ronaldo to play at his peak level and be near the top of the tournament in scoring.
Ronaldo is Portugal’s all-time leader in goals and caps. In his international career, Ronaldo has represented Portugal 149 times, scoring 81 goals. While Ronaldo has scored only three goals in his three previous World Cups, he has scored 30 goals in World Cup qualifying campaigns.