LEIPZIG – June 18, 2024 – The last time the world saw Cristiano Ronaldo on the international stage, he was in tears. It was December 10, 2022, and the setting was the Al-Thumama stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Morocco had just eliminated Portugal in the World Cup quarter-finals with a narrow 1-0 victory. Ronaldo, known for his emotional reactions, seemed inconsolable, a stark contrast to his usual composed demeanor.


In the months leading up to that moment, Ronaldo had hinted at the possibility of retirement from international football. In an interview with British journalist Piers Morgan, he mentioned that the 2022 World Cup could be his final bow, especially if Portugal won.

But as the dream of lifting the trophy faded, many thought it marked the end of an era. Ronaldo’s relegation to the bench during crucial World Cup matches against Switzerland and Morocco suggested a waning influence, overshadowed by the rising stars of the younger generation.

Adding to this narrative was his dramatic exit from Manchester United in the winter of 2022, moving to Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia. His absence from the Ballon d’Or nominee list for the first time since 2003 seemed to confirm that Ronaldo’s prime years were behind him.

Yet, as Portugal prepares to kick off its Euro 2024 campaign against the Czech Republic in Leipzig, Ronaldo is not only present but leading the team as captain.

This revival can be attributed to Roberto Martinez, who took over as Portugal’s head coach in January 2023. Martinez had a golden opportunity to leave Ronaldo out of the squad, continuing the shift initiated by his predecessor, Fernando Santos. However, Martinez opted to reintegrate Ronaldo, making him an essential part of the team.

“You just have to look at his statistics,” Martinez said, defending his decision. Ronaldo’s performance with Al-Nassr was nothing short of stellar: 44 goals in 45 matches across all competitions.


His form extended to the national team, where he became the second top scorer in the Euro 2024 qualifiers, netting 10 goals and trailing only Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku, who scored 14.

Portugal’s qualifying campaign was impeccable, with 10 wins from 10 games, boasting the best defense with just two goals conceded and the best attack with 36 goals scored. Ronaldo’s contribution was significant, scoring a brace in the final warm-up match against Ireland, which ended 3-0.

Despite playing in a league that was virtually unknown before his arrival, Ronaldo’s influence and performance have been undeniable. His return to the national team is not merely symbolic; it is backed by hard numbers and decisive moments that demonstrate his enduring quality.

As Portugal steps onto the field for their first match of Euro 2024, all eyes will be on Ronaldo. At 39, he remains a formidable force, ready to defy age and expectations.

His journey from the tears of Doha to the captain’s armband in Leipzig underscores a remarkable comeback fueled by resilience and an undying passion for the game.

For fans and critics alike, Ronaldo’s return to the limelight is a testament to his extraordinary career. Whether he can lead Portugal to another major title remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Cristiano Ronaldo is far from finished, and his legacy continues to grow.


This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members