Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal. (Credit: Twitter)
It finally seems as if the dominance of the Messi-Ronaldo duo has waned, atleast on one side, as for the first time in 20 years, Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo was excluded from the Ballon D’or nominees list this year.
This past generation of football has witnessed one of the, if not the most, intense rivalries in the history of the beautiful game, as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi went head-to-head year in and year out. But, it finally seems as if the dominance has waned, atleast on one side, as for the first time in 20 years, Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo was excluded from the Ballon D’or nominees list this year.
To call it a surprise might be a bit of an over-exaggeration as it was in the cards for the talisman striker, who plays for Al-Nassr now, to finally be forced to take a step down from the upper echelon of footballing greatness following his move to Saudi Arabia earlier this year.
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But at the same time, one mustn’t dismiss the brilliance of his arch-rival Lionel Messi in the past year though. The Argentine, despite his turbulent time in Paris, he was able to weave his magic as always, and lead PSG to a Ligue 1 title. But, more than that, what truly epiomizede his past year was the fact that he finally clinched the one trophy that eluded him for the longest — the World Cup. And in return, he secured himself a spot on the Ballon D’or list yet again.
But, despite it all, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo said on Wednesday that he wants to go “even further” after becoming the first player to score 850 career goals with Saudi club side Al-Nassr.
“I want more,” the forward told a press conference before training with the national side at Oeiras, on the outskirts of Lisbon, ahead of upcoming European Championship qualifiers.
“As long as I play I want to set the bar very high, I have to think big,” continued the 38-year-old.
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Ronaldo marked his 200th international cap last June by scoring the only goal in Portugal’s victory over Iceland, which allowed the Selecao to stay top of Group J in Euro 2024 qualifying.
And with the Euros nearing yet again, Ronaldo will be looking forward to retain his best form and lead his beloved Portugal to yet another Euro triumph.