Cristiano Ronaldo will not carry the burden of leading Portugal like he has in the past, but no one expects complacency, even at 36 he has set his sights on the top of the list. players to score the most at national team level.
Ronaldo broke the 100 international goal last September and is just 6 goals off Daei’s Iranian record of 109 goals.
As much as he was motivated to win titles with clubs and the national team, he had been looking forward to being alone with the record for quite some time. In 2019 he said: “All records have to be broken and I will beat that record. “
Ronaldo has scored 11 goals in eight qualifying matches and had the chance to face small teams like Lithuania, where he scored seven goals in two matches.
But he also shines in big tournaments, as he did when he scored a hat-trick in Portugal’s first game in the 2018 World Cup against Spain, or when he opened the score against Wales in the semifinals of the 2016 European Championship.
Ronaldo has put his name on the scoring list in his previous eight appearances for Portugal in major tournaments, and he will have two first chances to prove himself when Portugal face Germany and France in the second and third Group Six matches.
Portugal’s victory in the last European Championship was not satisfied with his hunger after suffering an early injury against France in the final, and he spent the rest of the time leaving the field and cheering his teammates.
Ronaldo will be more enthusiastic about inspiring Portugal to defend their title and play the league role in the event that they reach the final, especially after a disappointing season with Juventus.
The burden should be lighter on Ronaldo at least than he was when he led the national team to his first major title of the European Championship 2016 on his own and he had to do it with Ricardo Quaresma and Eder like his teammates in attack.
From now on, he can count on high level groups like Joao Felix, Diogo Jota, Bruno Fernandes and Andre Silva who will make Portugal an extraordinary candidate.
But even with such a large squad, Ronaldo should take on the role of captain.