Ronaldo back in action: European Championship record for 39-year-old Portuguese player

Cristiano Ronaldo has been included in the Portuguese squad for the European Championship. It will be the sixth European final tournament for the 39-year-old Al-Nassr forward, a unique achievement.

Ronaldo back in action: European Championship record for 39-year-old Portuguese player Embed from Getty Images

Ronaldo was already present during the 2004 European Championship, where he scored against the Netherlands, among others. In total, the superstar has scored 14 European Championship goals, also a record.

His absolute highlight in all those tournaments was winning in 2016 when Ronaldo had to be substituted in the final against France due to an injury. Despite his early exit from the game, his leadership and presence were pivotal in guiding Portugal to their first major international trophy.

During the last World Cup, the end of Ronaldo's international career seemed near. The forward lost his starting spot under Fernando Santos and then moved to Al-Nassr, a club in Saudi Arabia, raising doubts about his future at the highest level of international football. However, under the new national coach Roberto Martínez, Ronaldo retained his place in the squad. Martínez's faith in Ronaldo paid off as the veteran became a key player during the qualifiers, scoring ten goals. Only Romelu Lukaku was more productive with fourteen goals, showcasing Ronaldo's enduring prowess in front of goal.

The 41-year-old Pepe is also preparing for the tournament in Germany, demonstrating his remarkable longevity and importance to the national team. Along with Pepe, well-known names like Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Rafael Leão, and João Félix will be crucial to Portugal's campaign. Raphaël Guerreiro, however, is not fit and will be absent this summer, which is a significant loss for the team. On the other hand, former Ajax player Francisco Conceição, who has been in impressive form for FC Porto this season, will be part of the squad, adding youthful energy and flair.

In the European Championship, Portugal will face the Czech Republic on June 18, Turkey on June 22, and Georgia on June 26 in the first round. Three years ago, the Southern Europeans were eliminated in the round of 16 by Belgium, a result they hope to improve upon this time around. The squad, blending experienced veterans with dynamic young talents, aims to make a deep run in the tournament, with Ronaldo leading the charge in what could be his final European Championship.

Updated: 02:45, 21 May 2024

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