Cristiano Ronaldo has often been described as a machine for Portugal – but the 2022 World Cup has already shown he is human.
CR7 led the Portuguese to their opener against Ghana as captain as the only independent player in the tournament, following his mutually terminated contract with Manchester United this week.
The 37-year-old cast doubt on his future at Old Trafford with a bombshell interview with Piers Morgan in which he claimed his employers had betrayed him – and of course he ended his second stint with the Red Devils before his fifth in the world. Coupe, putting it on display for the tournament.
And Ronaldo was visibly moved when he heard the Portuguese national anthem, A portugueseat Stadium 974 in Qatar, a pitch made of shipping containers that was said to “wobble” with the noisy atmosphere of the competition’s opener, Mexico vs. Poland.
Ronaldo appearing against Ghana puts him in a select group of players who have played in five World Cups – days after Lionel Messi also added his name to the list. Both stars made their first appearances at the tournament in 2006, where Ronaldo infamously winked at Wayne Rooney in Portugal’s loss to England in the quarter-finals of the competition.
As Ronaldo touched the ball for the first time about a minute into the game against Ghana, the hall erupted with a roar of excitement. Unfortunately for the talisman himself, his first action was to give a foul.
Well, he hasn’t played much football lately, to be fair to him.