Every story has an ending and some are more painful than others. When Ronaldo threw down the captain’s armband in anguish after the loss to Belgium, it wasn’t the most attractive spectacle for his fans. The agony and anguish in that loud roar that could be heard among the 11,000 cheering fans as the full-time whistle sounded showed what was at stake.
𝕆𝔹ℝ𝕀𝔾𝔸𝔻𝕆 𝔸 𝕋𝕆𝔻𝕆𝕊! 🇵🇹 At home, I am not in our qualifying place, obrigated singing hair, pela emoção e hair support incansável! 👏 pic.twitter.com/Q7h0a7YzCk
– Portugal (@selecaoportugal) June 28, 2021
What it meant for the Portuguese captain and all-time top scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, was never in doubt, but his reaction was not just one of rupture. He seemed puzzled, contemplating the fact that this was in all likelihood his last European Championship appearance for his nation, that perhaps this was his last chance to bring glory to his nation.
– UEFA EURO 2020 (@ EURO2020) June 27, 2021
This disappointment followed an already unsatisfactory national season with Juventus that saw their 9-year streak of winning the Scudetto end. It was finished off by the same Romelu Lukaku who comforted the disheartened Ronaldo after Portugal’s defeat to Belgium.
TO SUBELIZE DOMESTIC STATION
Despite winning the golden boot this season with the Old Lady, the 36-year-old forward was unable to help them retain the Italian champions tag nor could he end their ill-fated Champions League streak.
Juventus had won the league every year from 2012 to 2020 and Ronaldo was part of two successful seasons. But they could not carry the legacy and a poor start to the campaign set the tone for the rest and at the end of Matchday 37, Juventus were out of the Champions League places. Verona led Napoli to a draw in the final game and Juventus won against Bologna, which meant they finally finished fourth and sealed a spot in next year’s edition of the prestigious tournament. However, the Champions League drought has continued for them and Ronaldo’s team was eliminated in the round of 16 by Porto in a huge surprise.
Non potrei essere più felice di vincere one more title to the service of the big club! Fino Alla Good! Forza Juve! 🏆🏳️🏴🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/KAOOCQJvhK
– Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) May 19, 2021
They won the Coppa Italia by beating Atalanta in the final, but that’s the bare minimum by Juventus standards considering the talent on their side. Since his departure from the Champions League, rumors began that Ronaldo would move elsewhere and continue to continue when his contract ends next year.
The firing of Andrea Pirlo and the return of Massimiliano Allegri may change a few things, but whatever happens, Portugal’s iconic number seven will always remain a legend of the sport.
His career seems like a fairy tale if you just look at what he has accomplished in sport and how many records he has. But when you see his work ethic and how much he has given to the game for more than half his life, it turns out that he has earned all the success that he has had.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner with a massive 32 team trophies includes another record: Ronaldo is the only player to have won all three national trophies in three of Europe’s five major leagues and also finished as the top scorer in all those three leagues. He did it with Manchester United in England, Real Madrid in Spain and now with Juventus in Italy.
Known as Mr Champions League for his incredible tournament records, the Portuguese has won the trophy five times. He is the leading scorer (134) and assists provider (42) in the competition’s history in 176 appearances. With his five Euro 2020 goals, he became the all-time top scorer in Euro (14) and is currently tied with Ali Daei for the most international goals overall (109).
Milestones of 🇵🇹 Cristiano Ronaldo 🤝:
– UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) June 23, 2021
Being the top scorer for one of the greatest clubs of all time is no small achievement either, and the former Real Madrid star scored 450 goals for Los Blancos, an all-time club record. The only thing that has eluded him so far is the FIFA World Cup and he will get his last chance at every footballer’s dream for the last time next year in Qatar if things go according to plan.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR RONALDO?
After a bitter departure from what was possibly his last European championship, many questions arise about his future in national and international football. By the time Portugal plays the next Eurocup in 2024, Cristiano will be nearly 40 years old, and while it doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down from now on, age will eventually affect his performances. But with the FIFA World Cup to be held next year, this might not be his last international tournament with Portugal, but it is still unknown if it will be of equal importance.
Sporting Lisbon says the club’s academy will be renamed the ‘Cristiano Ronaldo Academy’ as a tribute to the ‘greatest player of all time’
Ronaldo joined the Sporting academy at the age of 12 before moving to Man United in 2003. pic.twitter.com/M7GXgL4QiF
– ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 21, 2020
A 37-year-old Ronaldo may be a problem for Portugal at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and could be excluded from the starting eleven by Fernando Santos. In such a case, with Ronaldo’s personality, he might even decide to hang up his boots and move on rather than sitting outside and just being a spectator from the bench.
– Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) June 24, 2021
His future with Juventus is also in serious doubt considering the financial stress the club can alleviate by selling the 36-year-old who is in the final year of his contract. The Portuguese star earns a whopping € 30 million in annual salaries, it has been a problem for the old woman with all the debts and losses accounted for. There have been the usual rumors of a possible return to Old Trafford, or to his childhood club Sporting Lisbon, but it is not yet known where Ronaldo will play next season.