One hundred stories on the way to Qatar 2022: Cristiano Ronaldo, before his last chance to achieve what has resisted him

What Cristiano Ronaldo He has already entered history as one of the best and most successful soccer players, it is already a fact without discussion. She has won it all and more than once. But she is insatiable. She always wants more. He doesn’t want to be one of the best. he wants to be the best. And the world Cup maybe is, your only pending account.

The road to the Qatar World Cup 2022 in 100 stories.
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The Portuguese star will play his fifth World Cup in Qatar, a brand that has only achieved a very small group of soccer players: the Mexicans Antonio Tota Carbajal Y Rafael Marquezthe German Lothar Matthaus and the italian Gianluigi Buffon. Also, CR7 could become the only one to score goals in five consecutive World Cups. However, lifting the most coveted trophy seems more than difficult, due to the news of his National Team and that of Ronaldo himself.

A third place was the most Portugal has achieved (in 1966, with Eusebio as a figure) and not even with Cristiano at his best moment has he been able to match him.

At almost 38 years old, the striker from Man Utd He is facing his last World Cup, the last chance to shine in the biggest event in football. But arrives in Qatar at a rare time. Of Transition? He is uncomfortable in the Old Trafford teamwho finds it difficult to live up to the demands of a winner like the Portuguese, who for the first time in two decades the UEFA Champions League will be lost.

Each stage prior to a World Cup has been unique for Cristiano, the way in which he arrived at each appointment has been different and did not always have a direct relationship with his performance in the tournament. Here we review those five seasons of CR7 heading to a World Cup.

With scarcely 21 yearsCristiano disputed a third frustrating and controversial season in the Premier League. With the Manchester United shirt he played 33 league games and had to settle for second place behind José Mourinho’s Chelsea, who celebrated their two-time championship, while Sir Alex Ferguson’s team had already been three years without being able to win the main local title. The consolation prize was a League Cup before Wigan.

At the age of 21, Ronaldo faced Angola in his World Cup debut in Germany 2006 Getty Images

His name, instead, he made headlines for non-soccer issues, such as his bad relationship with Ruud van Nistelrooywho in a training session exploded because Cristiano chose to dribble, instead of passing the ball to him and the Dutchman began to shout that «I should be in a circus, not on a playing field.»

The argument between Manchester United’s star striker ended with the young Portuguese crying. Teammates of that time such as Río Ferdinand and Louis Saha considered the dispute between the strikers as a «war of egos».

In contrast to his present at the club, Cristiano was already part of the stable cast of the Portuguese National Team since he was 18 years oldthere was already participated of the euro2004 And in the Qualifying for Germany 2006was the second scorer in the group with seven goals.

Concentrated with the national team was that he learned from the mouth of Luiz Felipe Scolari that his 51-year-old father had died of liver failure. It was September 6, 2005.

«It was very hard and the moment when a relationship was created beyond that of coach-player – reported the DT in The Daily Mail-. When the news reached us, before a match against Russia, no one knew how to tell him and no one wanted to. I said that I would take care of it (…) It was very sad, but it connected us as friends. The next day, Cristiano played a great game and returned to Portugal. He asked to play. «I can’t do anything for my father today, so I’ll play tomorrow and leave,» he told us.

Their World Cup debut was the June 11, 2006the day that Portugal faced Angola for the first match of group D in the tournament in Germany. In the next meeting, facing iran, Cristiano became the youngest player to score a goal in a World Cup, with 21 years and 132 days: he scored the 2-0 penalty. That was her only entry in that World Cup, in which she was also one of the young revelations of the tournament.

The match of round of 16that It went down in history as the «Battle of Nuremberg»due to its high degree of violence, which ended with the sad record of four expulsions and 16 yellow cards, the Portuguese star was one of the protagonists of that match for being the victim of a very hard ironing by Khalid Bouhlarouz, which forced the striker to be replaced in tears before the end of the first half.

The Portuguese accused the Dutch: «Clearly an intentional foul that hurt me.» However, Bouhlarouz showed no signs of remorse. Some time later he commented: “The best I knew was through Van der Sar and he told me that Cristiano still had the scar a year and a half later. I saw Cristiano again at Euro 2012. Sneijder was talking to him and he called me. He told me. «Look Boula, your friend!» Cristiano’s face said it all… but I didn’t apologize to him either.»

The quarter finals they were no less dramatic: Portugal faced England and Cristiano was with many acquaintances from the Premier League and Manchester United teammates.

With the match 0-0half an hour from the end, Wayne Rooney stepped on Ricardo Carvalho, after getting rid of him. The Portuguese players, including Cristiano, demanded a sanction from the referee.

Rooney got kicked out, England fell on penalties and Portugal advanced to the semi-final. «I told the referee that it was a foul, but not a red card, because he is my friend», assured the Portuguese after the meeting. Despite his attempt to smooth over what happened with his United teammate, he had consequences.

English fans campaigned for Cristiano to lose the World Cup Best Young Player award. It was won by Lukas Podolski, the Pole who was playing for Germany. Cristiano asked Ferdinand to help him fix things with Rooney. «I just want to talk to him and tell him that there is nothing between us, that there was no malice in what I did, we are both on the same team, I would never do that to him, he is my brother.» commented the English defender who told him the Portuguese.

Despite the reconciliation, CR7 stated in a newspaper in his country: «I’m not going to stay at Manchester United. After what happened with Rooney, I can’t stay there.. In a couple of days I will have my future figured out. I don’t want to stay in England.» sentenced.

Portugal lost to France in the semi-finals and to Germany for third placebut got one of his best historical positions with fourth place.

The novel about Cristiano’s continuity or not at Manchester United lasted for the rest of the summer. The club did not allow him to leave and he had to return for the season that would be his big break, despite the hostility he had to suffer from English fans on the various Premier League pitches. Germany 2006, without a doubt, was just a sample of the world-class superstar that 21-year-old boy was going to become..

The road to South Africa was long and sprinkled with success for Cristianowho lifted three Premier Leagueothers two League Cups, two Super Cups, a UEFA Champions League Y a Club World Cup with Manchester United before Real Madrid took him away for 80 million pounds (record pass until that moment) to the White House, where he would become a legend.

In South Africa 2010 Ronaldo stood out within a team that was not up to par Getty Images

However, that First season with the merengue shirt, just prior to his second World Cup, it was not particularly good for Real Madrid. Yes ok Cristiano had a great performance at individual levelwith nothing less than 33 goals in 35 matches, he did not have any trophy or prize as a reward. Even in October 2009 suffered an ankle injury with the National Teamwhich by then, already had him as captain and top figure, which sidelined him for seven weeks.

That meant that was absent in six league games and the remembered series of Copa del Reyin which Alcorcón eliminated Real Madrid. Also, he missed both games with Milan for the Champions League and his team could not win. then it would be eliminated in round of 16.

And the most important thing for CR7 (who had only scored one goal in the Qualifiers), could not be part of the playoff to qualify for the World Cup against Bosnia. However, Carlos Queiroz’s Selecao fulfilled the objective.

In The league, Real Madrid had to settle for second place in back of Barcelonawhich also had the Pichichi of the tournament: Leo Messi (34), the same one that beat Bicho in the Ballon d’Or vote.

What happened at the World Cup in South Africa It was a bit of a reflection of Cristiano’s first experience at Real Madrid: he stood out in a team that was not up to par. The captain started in the four games that his second World Cup experience lasted. He was voted best player in all three group stage matches, in which they only beat South Korea and the only one in which he scored a goal.

In the round of 16, against Spain, the striker was the only one capable of disturbing the one who would later be champion. But in solitude and very marked by the red defense, could not avoid removal.

The season towards his third World Cup found Cristiano Ronaldo in his splendor. Already synchronized with Real Madrid, he got tired of scoring goals and breaking records in the famous «BBC» alongside Gareth Bale Y Karim Benzema and led by Carlo Ancelotti (who succeeded the fired José Mourinho).

Brazil 2014 was, so far, Ronaldo’s worst World Cup experience Getty Images

In The leaguethe meringue only finished in 3rd place in back of Atletico Madrid and Barcelonabut the Portuguese was the Pichichi with 31 goals in 30 games. for end of 2013with the impressive mark of 69 annotations in 59 appearances, Cristiano won his second consecutive Ballon d’Or.

«It’s an unforgettable moment in my career. I didn’t imagine winning the Ballon d’Or three times. I hope I don’t stop at this, I hope to catch up with Messi, but it doesn’t obsess me. I want to go down in football history as the best, and this is done working day by day» He closed his speech at the award ceremony.

He was champion of the Copa del Rey, although he missed the final against Barcelona due to a muscle injury. But the best was going to come in the following year, dressed in white: the long-awaited Tenth.

and the Portuguese was key for Real Madrid to win the title which had been denied him for 12 years. He played five of the six commitments of the group stage and scored 9 goals.

From eighth onwards he contributed seven annotations more and agreed to the classic final against Diego Simeone’s Atlético, which was special for Cristiano because it was at his home, Lisbon, and he arrived physically very fair, because he had patellar tendinitis…