Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal starting lineup, set to be first to play at 6 European Championships

AP , Tuesday 18 Jun 2024

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to become the first player to feature at six European Championship tournaments after being named in Portugal’s starting lineup for its opening game against the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

Portugal s forward #07 Cristiano Ronaldo takes part in the MD-1 training session at the Leipzig Stadium in Leipzig, eastern Germany. AFP

The 39-year-old Ronaldo, who made his tournament debut at Euro 2004 where Portugal reached the final, already has the records for the most goals (14) and appearances (25) at the tournament.

He warmed up for this edition with two goals as Portugal defeated Ireland 3-0 in its final preparation games.

“Another chapter in our history begins today,” Ronaldo wrote on X. “I fondly remember my first day with the national team, a journey full of challenges and victories. Now I have the honor of being alongside a team of champions, full of talent and determination. With everyone’s strength and support, we’re turning dreams into reality. Together let’s fight for another triumph. United, we’re unstoppable.”

Ronaldo was the joint-top scorer at Euro 2020 with five goals – the same as Czech forward Patrik Schick, who was also set to start Tuesday. Ronaldo previously scored against the Czech Republic at the 2008 and 2012 editions of the tournament.

Altogether, before Tuesday’s match, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had 130 goals in 207 games for Portugal since making his debut as an 18-year-old under Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari in August 2003.

Ronaldo just finished the club season setting a goal-scoring record 35 goals in the Saudi Pro League for runner-up Al-Nassr. He had an action-packed season, with four hat tricks and one red card. He was also suspended for an obscene gesture in February at Al-Shabab fans who were chanting longstanding rival Lionel Messi’s name.

Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr in January 2023 after an acrimonious exit from Manchester United while he was at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It was his second stint at the English club after successful spells at Juventus and Real Madrid, where he won the Champions League four times. He also won it in 2008 in his first stint at United.

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