Cristiano Ronaldo called it a ‘beautiful moment’ to score at a fifth World Cup tournament as Portugal edged past Ghana in a five-goal thriller on Thursday afternoon.
Having already had a goal disallowed, Ronaldo converted from the penalty spot in the second half to break the deadlock in a game that soon descended into chaos in both penalty areas.
In finding the net, the 37-year-old becomes the first male player to score at five different World Cups. He scored his first World Cup goal back in 2006 in a Portugal win over Iran and later also netted at tournaments in 2010, 2014 and 2018.
Brazil legend Marta has also achieved that incredible feat at the Women’s World Cup, scoring in 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019.
“This was a beautiful moment, [to score] at my fifth World Cup,” Ronaldo reflected.
“We started in a good way. It was an important win. The first match was crucial but also, the world record, this is something that makes me proud. I am happy with the result after a tough game.”
Ronaldo had been in the headlines for everything but football in the week leading up to Portugal’s first game following a controversial interview and his departure from Manchester United.
“The most important step was that we won,” he said. “This chapter is closed after this week. Now we start on a good foot. I helped my team and now it is done.”
Ronaldo’s club future will likely remain up in their until after the World Cup is over. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is a free agent and can theoretically now join any team he wants.
Clubs in Saudi Arabia are already starting to cement their interest and 90min understands Ronaldo can expect to receive a fresh offer from Al-Hilal, a side who previously failed with a bid during the summer that is thought to have been worth around £305m to the player.
Fellow Saudi Pro League side Al-Nassr are also keen to get in touch with Ronaldo.
However, his preference remains to stay in Europe, although of the linked clubs, Newcastle are not planning to make an approach, while Chelsea boss Graham Potter isn’t actively seeking a forward.