Benjamin Franklin once said that “In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Franklin died over 200 years ago, which makes sense, because if he were still alive, he would acknowledge life’s third certainty: Cristiano Ronaldo bagging goals at the FIFA World Cup. After his goal against Ghana, Cristiano Ronaldo made history, becoming the first men’s football player to score a goal at five World Cup’s.
A force on the field throughout his illustrious career with a knack for finding the back of the net, Ronaldo scored his first World Cup goal way back in 2006 at the age of 21. He’s scored at least one goal in every World Cup since then and after bagging the opener in Portugal’s 3-2 win over Ghana, Ronaldo is the first men’s player to score at five different FIFA World Cup’s.
After a scoreless first half, which saw Ronaldo have a goal overturned after a foul in the lead up play, the game’s second half picked up the pace. In the 65th minute, Ronaldo was brought down inside the box, winning a penalty. Who else was going to step up to take it but the Portuguese captain himself? Ronaldo calmly slotted away the spot kick before running towards the corner flag and whipping out the famous Sui celebration.
Ghana clawed their way back into the match with an equaliser in the 73rd minute. But two more goals from Portugal’s Joao Felix and Rafael Leao put the game beyond doubt before Ghana grabbed another late consolation goal. Portugal now sits atop of group H with three points.
Ronaldo’s latest record proves that despite being at an age where most athletes would have already hung up their boots, he still has a lot left in the tank. The superstar is at a turning point in his career. The 37-year-old parted ways with Manchester United earlier this week, after he and his club came to a mutual agreement to terminate the star’s contract.
Ronaldo’s departure from Manchester United follows what has been a disappointing season by his standards. Highlighted by controversial clashes with coaching staff, explosive interviews and poor form on the field that have undermined what was a triumphant return to the club last season. Last week, in controversial interview, Ronaldo lashed out at Manchester United’s coach and ownership group, prompting his timely departure.
With claims that the star was finally beginning to show his age and slow down, Ronaldo is on a mission in Qatar to prove his doubters wrong. He hit back at assertions that his departure from Manchester United would be a distraction following the win over Ghana. “The important thing was that the team won. That chapter is closed and the focus is solely and exclusively on the World Cup.”
As a result of his contract termination, Ronaldo entered the World Cup as the only player out of 831 competing in Qatar, to be without a club. The first time such an instance has occurred since 2010. Ronaldo’s next club will be the subject of rumours for the next month, but the star says he won’t let it distract him, or his team, from their ultimate goal: winning the World Cup.
Not everyone was happy about Ronaldo’s new record, particularly Ghana’s coach Otto Addo. Addo had some bitter words for the game’s officials in a post-match interview, claiming that the decision to award Portugal a penalty was “a special gift from the referee”. Far from applauding Ronaldo on his accomplishment, Otto was understandably more concerned with the controversial goal’s influence on the outcome of the game. “It was a wrong decision. It was actually a foul against us,” he said.
In what will likely be his last World Cup, Ronaldo will need to keep banging in goals if he is to claim the one accolade missing from his extensive trophy cabinet: a World Cup victory.