Ronaldo Efforts at the Age of 39 Surprise Portuguese Coach: ‘He’s Still No Different from an 18-Year-Old Player

Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal to a perfect qualification. 10 games, 10 wins, and therefore a full 30 points, plus a score of 36 goals scored and only two conceded. Portugal coach Roberto Martínez highlighted the contribution of the star Ronaldo.

When Portugal crashed out to Morocco in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Qatar a year ago, Cristiano Ronaldo’s future in the national team was a big question mark. In fact, he was only left on the bench in the play-offs, and he was without a club and even then a bit out of form.

But the 38-year-old icon has once again managed to come back to the top. In Al-Nassr, Ronaldo shot up again. The Portuguese national team was taken over by Spanish coach Roberto Martínez, who led Belgium, and made it clear that he was counting on the legend of world football.

Martínez was reportedly very interested in Ronaldo and flew to Arabia to meet him in person to let him know how much he wanted him.

And he reciprocated in kind. As captain, he led Portugal to a perfect qualification, jumping into nine games in which he scored 10 goals and added one assist.

“It’s difficult for me to explain how a player at 38 years old and with more national team starts than any other player in the world is as hungry for success and goals as if he were 18 years old. This power then infects the other players in the cabinet,” marveled Portugal coach Roberto Martínez after the last match against Iceland.

“He’s always trying to be in the right space, always trying to score, but he has great team discipline. He’s an example in the locker room; it’s fantastic to have a player with his experience,” added the Catalan coach, who led Belgium to bronze at the 2018 World Cup.

Portugal finished qualifying as the team with the most goals (36) and, therefore, the best goals per game average (3.6). Moreover, the Iberian side kept a clean sheet in all their home games. Nobody has ever managed to do that in a EURO qualification.

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