Cristiano Ronaldo Aiming For Full House Next Winter

By on 6th April 2022

Credit: Fars Media Corporation, Portugal and Iran match at the FIFA World Cup 2018 9, CC BY 4.0

Cristiano Ronaldo is a man who almost has it all.

He’s won domestic doubles in Italy, Spain and England. He’s done it on the European stage, winning the Champions League five times. He’s even conquered the individual awards, winning the Ballon d’Or five times.

With his country, he’s lifted a European Championship, the only time Portugal has won a major international honour unless you count their 2019 win in the Nations League. His nation recently qualified for the 2022 World Cup, and that is the last trophy to elude him. By the time the winter World Cup arrives, he’ll still only be 37, and he’ll be hoping to complete the full house in Qatar. He might even become one of the oldest scorers at a World Cup.

Unlike some of his former Juventus teammates, his nation has made the finals after a tense victory against North Macedonia in the play-offs. He played up front for them as they won 2-0, with goals from his Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes. Whilst one United player was roundly booed in England colours, two others were earning the adoration of their fans, helping to secure their place at a sixth successive World Cup.

It is almost certain Ronaldo will be part of the squad, and as he’ll be 41 by the time the tournament heads to North America in 2026, it could be his last finals. He will join an exclusive list of just three players to have been in five World Cup squads and played in all five tournaments, the others being Antonio Carbajal (1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966), Lothar Matthäus (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998) and Rafael Márquez (2002, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2018). This unique, four-of-a-kind group of players are history makers, with Gianluigi Buffon completing the full house, albeit with five tournaments (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014), but having not played in 2002.

Indeed, by the time 2026 rolls around, Ronaldo will surely be pursuing his other interests. His commercial viability is not in question; whatever he chooses to do after the game, he’s sure to be a success. He’s a fashion icon, property magnate, and the driving force behind his CR7 brand. He might even make a living from being a poker brand ambassador alongside fellow star Neymar. They are two sports stars who play poker, and the pair could feasibly come face-to-face in Qatar this winter. Neymar only has two World Cups under his belt, so in poker terms, his pair will be easily beaten by Ronaldo’s four-of-a-kind.

Whilst the future could hold anything from poker to palatial hotels for Ronaldo, none of that will be on his mind. He will go into the next few months with a single-minded intention to win the World Cup for his country. Very few players have won the lot, a Ballon d’Or, World Cup, European Championship, Champions League and domestic doubles, and the man famous for the ‘Siu’ celebration is motivated not by money (he doesn’t need to be), nor by brand ambassadorship, but by success. If he were to complete the set, he would join one player, Zinedine Zidane, with all the awards. Two others, Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller, won the old European Cup, arguably an easier trophy to win, but still fantastic achievements.

Ronaldo is a player who has perfectly played the hand dealt to him, accentuating his skills with dedication, hard work and clean living. Come December; it’s possible he could underline his status as one of the all-time greats with the biggest prize of all.

About Chris Darwen