Ronaldo: Playing at This Level at 39 is a Gift

Cristiano Ronaldo reflects on his career, expressing gratitude for playing at a high level at age 39 and emphasizing his passion for representing Portugal at Euro 2024.

Star player Cristiano Ronaldo considers the Portuguese national team to be the "love of his life," noting that continuing to play at this level at the age of 39 is a "gift." These remarks were made on the sidelines of the start of Euro 2024 on Friday.

The Al-Nassr striker prepared for the continental tournament by scoring a brace in Portugal's 3-0 friendly win over Ireland on Tuesday, further extending his record for international goals to 130.

He said, "I know I don't have many years left in my career," adding, "It's a gift to play year after year after the age of 35. I'm 39 now, and every year is about enjoying myself. Scoring for the national team is special. The national team is the love of my life, and winning the European Championship would be a dream."

Ronaldo played his first match for the "Seleção das Quinas" (Portugal national team) in 2003 and won the European Championship in 2016.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus star said, "For me, playing with the national team is a passion, it's love. Every match is special, the European Championship is special, this will be my sixth (participation), which is a record."

He continued, "When I played my first match (in the European Championship) in 2004, or even when I play today, the feeling is always pride and passion. It couldn't be better than this."

Spanish coach Roberto Martinez described Ronaldo as "exceptional."

Despite not winning any titles this year, Ronaldo scored 35 goals for Al-Nassr in his first full season.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner said, "The most important thing is that I'm physically and mentally well. I'm ready, I always prepare in the best way. I'm 100% professional. I'll be ready as usual to help my country and respect the coach's decisions."

Ronaldo did not start in Portugal's last two matches at the 2022 World Cup under former coach Fernando Santos, who said Ronaldo was not happy with his decision to be benched.

When asked if his team could repeat their 2016 achievement, Ronaldo commented, "This should be our mindset, to be positive and take things one step at a time. Dreams are free, and this team has the talent to dream. Nothing can be achieved without work; we have to work and fight."

He added, "We have to take advantage of this talented generation and do something beautiful in the European Championship. But I repeat my words: we have to work. We have to start the European Championship in the best possible way."

Portugal will begin their continental journey against the Czech Republic in Leipzig on the 18th of this month, before facing Turkey four days later in Dortmund, and completing the group stage against Georgia in Gelsenkirchen on the 26th.



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