Portugal and star man Cristiano Ronaldo were unable to avoid the continued fairytale run of Morocco after A Seleçao crashed out of the quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup after Ousud Al-atlas fought their way to a historic 1-0 win under Walid Regragui, becoming the first African nation to ever reach the semi-finals on football’s biggest stage.
But on a night when Ronaldo walked off the pitch at Al Thumama Stadium in tears as speculation will no doubt begin to swirl regarding whether or not the 37-year-old will persist on the international stage in the wake of proceedings in Qatar, the Funchal native still managed to add yet another record to his glistening career.
Upon entering proceedings in the 51st minute when replacing Wolves midfielder Rúben Neves, Ronaldo equaled the FIFA-recognized men’s international caps record of 196, joining 37-year-old Kuwaiti forward Bader Al-Mutawa atop the list.
Both Ronaldo and Al-Mutawa had surpassed the long-standing 195 cap record that was previously held by Malaysian defender Soh Chin Ann, who last made an official international appearance on 18 October 1984.
Despite the heartbreak suffered on the night by Ronaldo and his many compatriots, it is another feather in the cap of one of the greatest players to ever grace the beautiful game, while most impressively, his record goal tally of 118 goals during those near-200 appearances for A Seleçao will likely leave him in sole possession of that record for years to come at the very least.
Whether or not Ronaldo decides to hang up his boots on the international level remains to be seen, but it would appear unlikely that he will be at the forefront of the national team picture come Euro 2024 given the wealth of young attacking talent in the Portuguese player pool.
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