Euro 2016: Can Cristiano Ronaldo Finally Deliver at a Major Tournament?Published June 14, 2016
It was only three short weeks ago that the self-proclaimed greatest of his generation took centre stage, after his decisive spot-kick sent Jan Oblak the wrong way to seal Real Madrid’s eleventh European trophy.
Despite being virtually invisible throughout the one hundred and twenty minutes in Milan, Cristiano Ronaldo, found a way to do what he does best, grab the headlines.
For the Portuguese icon, to score the last goal of the European campaign, was symbolic, an act of defiance to all his critics claiming that he is now past his peak.
At the age of 31, Los Blancos’ all-time top scorer has just completed a season in which he hit 51 goals in 52 Real Madrid appearances, and after such a prolific campaign, the current European Championships represents the perfect opportunity for the Galactico to finally reign supreme on an international level.
But despite his remarkable goalscoring record in Spain, the penny has never quite dropped for Ronaldo at a Euros or World Cup.
The former Sporting graduate’s record at international tournaments is little better than that of Wayne Rooney: the Portuguese has just nine goals in 29 matches at European Championships and World Cups.
Many have pointed to Portugal’s recent lack of star names as a reason for Ronaldo’s failures on an international level. The Portuguese are a shadow of the side they were a decade ago, and perhaps the reliance on just one man is a step too far, even for the one of the best to ever grace the game.
But for a player as great as Cristiano Ronaldo, there will be no room for excuses, and the opportunity to revel in the spotlight as being Portugal’s saviour will be something he will relish.
As Ronaldo and Portugal get ready to face Iceland in St Etienne on June 12, the 31-year-old will have it in the back of his mind, that this could be his last shot at international glory. For all his medals, and personal accomplishments, it is international silverware which he is now craving.
As he approaches the twilight of his career and ponders his legacy, he will be desperate to put that right this summer.
Time will tell whether or not this is once again a missed opportunity, or whether finally, Cristiano Ronaldo, can achieve just about the only thing he has failed to so far in his historic career.