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Cristiano Ronaldo: Man Utd and Portugal legend hints at final ambition after answering retirement question

Portugal and Man Utd striker Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo outlined what could be his final act on the international stage after answering a retirement question while in Portugal.

The 37-year-old is enduring arguably the most difficult period in his club career to date. Ronaldo pushed to leave Manchester United in the summer, citing a desire to continue his Champions League legacy as to why.

Ronaldo currently tops the all-time goalscorers chart in the UCL. His incredible 140 strikes leads Lionel Messi (126) by 14. Third on the list has not even broken the 100-mark (Robert Lewandowski – 89).

However, when concrete interest failed to emerge, Ronaldo remained at Old Trafford.

Under new boss Erik ten Hag, Ronaldo’s place in the eleven is far from secure. Indeed, he’s made just one start in the Premier League this season – United’s 4-0 embarrassment against Brentford.

In stark contrast, he remains the jewel in the crown of the Portuguese national team.

His long wait for silverware in the international arena was lifted when Portugal won Euro 2016. Ronaldo then helped his country be crowned the first ever Nations League winners in 2019.

The upcoming World Cup would complete the set, and speaking at an awards ceremony in Portugal on Tuesday (via the Manchester Evening News), Ronaldo was asked if Qatar could be his final act.

Euro 2024 could be Portugal swansong

“It has been a long road, but I would like to take the opportunity to say that my road is not over yet,” said Ronaldo, who received an award commemorating his status as the country’s all-time top scorer.

“I feel motivated, my ambition is high,” he continued.

“I am in the selection with a lot of young players and I want to be part of this World Cup and the 2024 European as well, I assume now.”

When the 2024 European Championship in Germany rolls around Ronaldo will be 39.

The fact he specifically mentioned that tournament rather than leaving his international career open-ended would suggest he knows he won’t make the 2026 World Cup.

How close can Ronaldo get to 150?

Another record Ronaldo holds is the all-time men’s top goalscorer in international football.

His goals record stands at a scarcely believable 117 goals in 189 appearances. Second on the list is Iran’s Ali Daei (109). He is the only other player to have breached the 100-goal mark. Messi is fourth with 86.

But if Ronaldo does realise his Euro 2024 ambition, he could come close to hitting 150.

Portugal will fancy their chances of going deep in Qatar. After that, another year and a half of internationals will throw up plenty of opportunities, fitness permitting.

What’s more, despite his decline at club level, he has remained potent with Portugal.

Across 14 internationals in the calendar year of 2021, Ronaldo returned 13 goals. A ratio close to that over the next two years could see him set a benchmark that may never be broken.