At 37, a full commemorative treasury but more than just a beloved icon, Cristiano Ronaldo remains a role model for Portugal’s youth, facing the Czech Republic on Thursday in Lisbon on the third day of the League of Nations.
The Portuguese captain has the international legitimacy to inspire a new generation: 188 caps for 117 goals (a world record), nine major tournaments played, Euro…
He is not satisfied as evidenced by his double on Sunday against Switzerland (4-0 win).
On social media, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner said he felt “a lot of pride and confidence” in the Portuguese group.
‘CR7’ regularly displays his association with Seleção and his associates, but at times he looked exhausted during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
‘When he feels he can trust you, he gives 100%.’ Manchester United team-mate and in-choice Diogo Dalot, 23, confirmed, ‘It’s always a big plus to have a player and someone like that in the locker room.’
Several newcomers to the Portugal national team have hailed the pivotal role of Cristiano Ronaldo in their integration.
“He loves to weld with everyone and has helped me a lot in including me into the workforce,” said Joao Felix, attacking midfielder, Atletico Madrid, in an interview with Eleven Sports in February 2020.
“He is an example for the whole team. He is a great captain and always ready to give advice. Before a Nations League match he told me to keep calm and have fun,” the 22-year-old added to the World Soccer review in March 2021.
And Paris Saint-Germain full-back Nuno Mendes, who was called up for the first time with Portugal in the spring of 2021, has been in this direction after his first match in the Portuguese colors against Azerbaijan.
“The captain (Cristiano Ronaldo, editor’s note) gave me advice before the match. It’s very important to me, he helped me and I think he showed up on the pitch,” said the young man, who is now 19.
Among all the young players, Cristiano Ronaldo has a distinguished relationship with Diogo Dalot.
“My friend Dalot”
During training, the Manchester United duo often appear together.
“Focus on the daily goals, and enjoy the moments with your friends. Great training session with my friend Dalot!”, Ronaldo posted on social networks.
“Working with someone who has this work culture, this professionalism and this mindset and the ability to get close to it, has helped me a lot,” Dalot said in May.
Like many of his teammates in the national team, he hopes to enjoy the presence of the top scorer in international football history (117 goals) for as long as possible.
“It’s on another level, it can’t be explained in words. You just have to take advantage of it as long as you can (…)”, he explained in October to Inside United magazine, the club.
Throughout his career, Cristiano Ronaldo has said he wants to play until the age of 40 and insisted in March that he would be the only one to make the decision to stop the selection.
Therefore, the young Portuguese generation can a priori rely on its older brother for a few years.