Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed to “fight” for Portugal’s right to grace the 2022 World Cup, with the Manchester United superstar determined to figure at what could be his last major global showpiece.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is now 37 years of age and, despite stating on a regular basis that he into his 40s, is .
He has graced four World Cup tournaments in the past, while savouring European Championship glory in 2016, and intends to reach a fifth as on Thursday.
What has been said?
Victory over Turkey would line up an all-or-nothing final showdown with either Italy or North Macedonia on March 29, with Ronaldo already setting his sights on a place in Qatar.
He posted on Instagram: “Total focus on the 2022 World Cup.
“Proud, as always, to represent Portugal.
“We know that the path will not be easy, we have the utmost respect for the opponents we will face and who share the same goals as us.
“But together, we will fight to put Portugal in its rightful place. Let’s do it!”
Portugal could not wish to have a more talismanic presence at their disposal when taking aim at another World Cup finals, with Ronaldo continuing to send records tumbling.
He is the all-time leading goalscorer in men’s international football with 115 efforts to his name and has won more caps, 184, than any other European player.
Ronaldo is the only player in history to have found the target at nine successive major tournaments – with that run stretching back to Euro 2004 – and is the leading scorer at European Championships with 14 goals on his resume.
Who else are Portugal relying on?
While Ronaldo, as national team captain, will be expected to lead by example for Portugal as they look to book tickets to Qatar, Fernando Santos has plenty of alternative match-winners in his ranks.
One of those also plies his club trade at Old Trafford, with Bruno Fernandes echoing Ronaldo in a pre-match rallying call prior to lining up against Turkey.
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He has said on social media: “Now more than ever, we all need to be united.
“We will do everything to reach the World Cup.”
Portugal last failed to reach the World Cup in 1998 and are currently sat eighth in the FIFA world rankings.