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Ronaldo Set to Feature in His SIXTH Euros This Summer

Cristiano Ronaldo was recently announced as the highest-earning sportsperson in the world by Forbes and over the years he has set so many records. His earnings of $260m in the last 12 months will not doubt be surpassed, and very possibly that will happen next year. Some of his other records are likely to endure much longer, however.

We hesitate to say they’ll last forever because that is an awfully long time, but Ronaldo’s tally of 207 international caps and 130 goals (and counting!) for his country are both benchmarks we do not anticipate being broken anytime soon, except by the man himself.

The Portuguese star will hope to add to both of those at Euro 2024, taking place in Germany between the 14th of June and the 14th of July. Barring injury, CR7 will play at the European Championship and, incredibly, this will be his sixth appearance at the finals of the Euros. That is yet another record for the man from Madeira and is also one that it may prove impossible to surpass. Let’s take a look at Ronaldo’s sensational six Euros.

2004: Debut on Home Soil

Ronaldo first played for Sporting Lisbon at the age of just 16 and moved to Manchester United for what proved to be a bargain fee of just £12m when still 17. He made his international bow at the age of 18, coming off the bench against Kazakhstan in 2003. A year later he made his first appearance in a major international tournament on home soil when Portugal hosted Euro 2004.

Still callow and prone to show-boating, Ronaldo’s talent was clear, and he scored his first goal for his nation at Euro 2004. That came against Greece in a surprise 2-1 defeat in the group phase. Those nations met again in the final and there was another upset as the Greeks spoilt the Portuguese party. Ronaldo played a key part in getting them to that showpiece clash though, scoring the opener against Netherlands in the semi (which Portugal won 2-1).

2008: Maturing Ronaldo Unable to Sparkle

Ronaldo Euro 2008
Ronaldo at Euro 2008 ( / bigstock)

Now 23, Ronaldo had been prolific, scoring seven goals as Portugal qualified for the 2006 World Cup. He only managed a single goal at the finals but great things were expected of him at the 2008 Euros in Austria and Switzerland. He had bagged eight goals in qualifying but once again struggled to make a huge impression at the finals.

He scored a single goal at Euro 2008, against Czech Republic, in a 3-1 win in Geneva. Portugal were eliminated by Germany in the quarters and Ronaldo, who headed into this tournament having scored 42 goals in 49 games for Man United, was unable to show what he was capable of.

2012: Ronaldo Enters “Peak”

The former Real Madrid star was, in theory, entering his peak years by now, coming into this tournament at the age of 27 and now the Portugal captain. Little did we know at the time that like a fine wine he would get better with age and be back to play in (at least!) three more European Championship finals.

He had been scoring freely for Real, playing more centrally than he had in his younger years, netting 146 goals in just 144 games since moving to Spain in 2009. He was established, alongside Lionel Messi, as perhaps the best player in the world and was clearly the finest player from Europe. However, of course, football is a team game, and whilst in 2012 Portugal boasted the likes of Ronaldo’s Real teammate Pepe, Man United’s Nani, and Joao Moutinho, they were not good enough to compete with the very best.

Ronaldo scored three times (no player scored more), a brace against Netherlands and the only goal of the game four days later a penalty against Czech Republic in the quarters. However, Portugal lost on penalties in the semis to great rivals Spain, who went on to win the title.

2016: Glory in Final for Portugal

Now in his 30s and, so we might have assumed, beginning to see his powers fade ever so slightly, Ronaldo would finally win international honours to go alongside the countless trophies he had won in his club career and personally. By now he had won the Ballon d’Or three times, as well as far too many league honours and cups to mention, but he craved glory with his nation.

Portugal had a stronger side than in the past and whilst Ronaldo should have been in, or near, decline, it was clear to all that he was still at his very best. But, of course, as noted, football is a team game, and one man alone cannot win a major tournament, much as some argue that is what Diego Maradona did in 1986.

Portugal made it through to the final, needing extra time against Croatia and penalties against Poland, before Ronaldo and Nani scored to beat Wales 2-0 in the semis. However, against hosts France, a side packed with top players, they started as big underdogs. That status as outsiders sharpened when their star, talisman, and many thought only real hope, Ronaldo, was forced off in the final after just 25 minutes.

Injured in the 8th minute the Portugal skipper tried to play on but despite leaving the pitch 10 minutes later to have his leg strapped, he was forced off in the 25th minute. And with that, many assumed Portugal’s hopes were gone. However, with Man of the Match Pepe and the rest of the Portuguese defence resolute, the underdogs, cheered and coached from the sidelines by Ronaldo, somehow managed to win 1-0 in extra time.

2020: Golden Boot but no Glory

Ronaldo at Euro 2020
Ronaldo at Euro 2020 (katatonia82 / bigstock)

This tournament actually took place in 2021 and you don’t need a maths degree to know that CR7 was now 36 years old. His very best years were now behind him, though he continued to bang in the goals for both Juventus and Portugal. His role was now much more focused only on scoring goals and setting an example of the standards expected, with even Ronaldo affected by age.

Prolific in qualifying, he continued his scoring into the tournament, finishing Euro 2020 with five goals. That was the same as Czech, Patrik Schick, but Ronaldo won the Top Scorer award, or Golden Boot, having played fewer minutes than Schick. Portugal scraped through the Group of Death in third behind Germany and France, Ronaldo netting five times, including three penalties. However, they came unstuck against Belgium in the Round of 16, losing 1-0.

2024: Super 6 Sets Sensational Record

Ronaldo bagged 10 goals in qualifying for Euro 2024 and continues to be a big part of Portugal’s plans. This will be his sixth Euros, 20 years on from his first, at the age of 39. No player has ever played in five, other than CR7, so he is extending his own record should he make it onto the pitch in Germany. He also boasts the most goals in Euros qualifying, the most in the tournament-proper, as well as the most games won, most Euros outings as captain, most matches (and also minutes) played, and …. we could go on. In short, Ronaldo is a phenomenon!