December 9, 2022

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World Cup briefing: Unemployed Cristiano Ronaldo makes history

2 min read

On Thursday night, Cristiano Ronaldo put his name in the history books. His goal against Ghana — a penalty scored just after the hour mark — made him the first player ever to score at five separate World Cups.

The feat is a testament to his enduring talent, and to the length of his reign at the top of the men’s game. No wonder he still vies with Lionel Messi to be world football’s official GOAT.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is a phenomenon”, said Fernando Santos, Portugal’s head coach, after the game. “In 50 years’ time, we will continue to speak about him.”

Yet the 37-year-old forward finds himself looking for work. Earlier this week, his contract with Manchester United was torn up with immediate effect — the fallout from an explosive interview he gave to Piers Morgan.

After Thursday’s match, he was asked about his future. He swerved. The only thing on his mind now is this Portugal team and the World Cup. “The rest, it doesn’t matter,” he said, before leaving the post-match press conference.

Earlier in the day, Saudi Arabia’s sport minister had helped set tongues wagging. In an interview with the BBC, he was asked if Ronaldo might be lured by the Saudi league. After all, the Gulf kingdom has been making an aggressive push into global sport.

“Anything is possible”, said Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal. “I would love to see Cristiano Ronaldo play in the Saudi league.”

Messi already has a deal to help promote tourism in Saudi Arabia. Perhaps a package trip to watch Ronaldo will be in the next holiday brochure.

Friday’s one to watch: Qatar’s last chance at redemption

Qatar’s goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb misses a shot from Ecuador in the team’s first World Cup match © AP

Qatar’s football ambitions have been built at great expense at the Aspire Academy, a state of the art facility in Doha with coaches, sports scientists and other experts from around world.

The project to build a…

2022-11-25 00:00:54

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