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Cristiano Ronaldo’s last dance

Before the curtain falls, before the generation of New Football Monsters definitively overtakes him, before age – he is 39 years old – definitively claims its needs; Cristiano Ronaldo has one last chance to prove to the world that he is still him.

Cristiano Ronaldo again, in the way we knew until a moment ago, until he decided – in January 2023 – to park himself in Saudi Arabia, lulled by the sheikhs’ petrodollars but without the prestigious stage of Europe anymoreno longer with that global fame and that friendly glory that had accompanied him for almost two decades, from Manchester United to Real Madrid up to Juventus and, again, to the Red Devils of Old Trafford.

The last chance, it goes without saying, is the European Championship held in Germany (14 June-14 July). Last call, last train to add another trophy to his imperial cabinet, last dance. The Last Dance of the most relentless scorer of Football 2.0. Cristiano’s centrality in Portugal is no longer what it was before, in the golden times, when he was the undisputed king and the team played for him.

New talents advance. but despite this the old CR7 maintained ownership of the center forward role. And it must be said that Cristiano he ended his season with Al-Nassr scoring 35 goals in the league, 50 overall in the season. The ferocity and ambition that still fuels him are evidenced by the tears he cried a week ago when he lost the King’s Cup on penalties. Devoured by an obsession that has no equal in any colleague, Cristiano shows up to this last appointment looking polished.

The extraordinary fit physique built over all these years is still the pedestal of his art. The problem, more than anything, will be the lack of habit, after a year and a half in Qatar, of competing at certain levels and with certain opponents. But his career speaks for him: 226 appearances for the national team, 128 goals, only a part of the more than 900 scored in official matches in his career. Among other things, he has already won a Christian European Championship, in 2016, beating France, which was hosting the tournament. On that occasion, however, Cristiano was injured during the final and was forced to follow his teammates’ triumph from the bench.

Since then, Portugal has alternated ups and downs: they went out in the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup, won the 2019 Nations League, were eliminated in the round of 16 at Euro 2020 and then in the quarterfinals of the most recent World Cup, in Qatar 2022, when they were the surprising Morocco to advance to the semi-finals. In Germany, Portugal ended up in an apparently soft group: in fact, they will have rivals Turkey, the Czech Republic and Georgia.

At the European Championship, obviously, there will not be his great rival, the alter ego who lived the epic of these fabulous years with him, the Argentine Leo Messi, the one with whom he shared the dazzling light of these years. Cristiano will have the stage all to himself. For the last dance, to leave your mark, to impact the news, escape from history and definitively enter legend.

Source: Vanity Fair

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