Portugal vs North Macedonia: Portugal advance, is it Cristiano Ronaldo's last go at World Cup?

Portugal beat North Macedonia in the playoffs final to advance to the FIFA World Cup 2022. Big question still remains whether Qatar is the last World Cup Cristiano Ronaldo will be taking part in.

Cristiano Ronaldo in a file photo; Credit: Twitter/@EURO2020
By annirudh bhalla | Mar 31, 2022 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Portugal beat North Macedonia 2-0 in the playoffs final to book their place in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in what will be the country’s sixth consecutive appearance in the World Cup finals. Manchester United midfielder, Bruno Fernandes scored a brace to make sure Portugal carried on from the win against Turkey in the semifinals. Playing in their home soil in the Dragao stadium in Porto, the home team didn’t disappoint as they controlled most periods of the game and didn’t allow North Macedonia to pose any real threats to their hopes of qualifying to the World Cup.

The 2016 Euro Champions, who have displayed amazing consistency when it comes to playing major international tournaments in the last two decades, failed to earn direct qualification to the World Cup having finished 2nd in their qualifying group. But Fernando Santos’ team handled the nerves of the playoffs well and ensured that Cristiano Ronaldo does get to play in his 5th consecutive World Cup.

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Is it the final chance for Cristiano Ronaldo at World Cup glory?

“The years go by, but the objectives always remain the same”, wrote Ronaldo on his Instagram following the confirmation that Ronaldo will be playing in his 10th straight international major tournament. However, in recent times a lot of talk around Ronaldo has been whether he has played his last World Cup especially after Portugal finished second to Serbia in their qualifying group and couldn’t earn direct qualification. However, on Tuesday that talk was dismissed after Portugal beat North Macedonia.

The big question, however, still remains whether or not the Qatar World Cup is the last World Cup Cristiano Ronaldo will be taking part in. “We’ll see”, was the simple response Ronaldo gave when he was asked the same question after the match. The Manchester United star who will be 41 when the 2026 World Cup comes around has achieved everything in his career except the World Cup triumph which continues to elude him. The highest international goal scorer of all time, Ronaldo will have a squad of star-studded players like Joao Cancelo, Pepe, Bernardo Silva, Diego Jota, Bruno Fernandes to help him capture the ultimate glory in December in Qatar.

There is no certainty when it comes to understanding the longevity of Ronaldo’s career, especially keeping in mind his extraordinary fitness levels given his age. This has added to the debate as to whether or not Ronaldo will continue his World Cup search should Portugal not be crowned champions this time around. His performances certainly raise no doubt which was evident in his excellent outings in the playoffs where he also gave an assist in the final.

No matter what Cristiano Ronaldo decides to do, his career still stands out amongst almost all the current footballers and he will surely give one final push to make sure Portugal win their first-ever World Cup.