Ronaldo is ‘happy’ with the new Portuguese players at the World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo knows a thing or two about the World Cup. He has played 4 of them and is about to hit a record 5 this month in Qatar.

Ronaldo also knows when he sees something promising, and he believes that this time there is reason to feel optimistic about the chances of a talented Portuguese team that combines experience and strength. young while trying to win their first World Cup.

“This World Cup squad is a great mix of experienced players and young rising stars, and I hope we can show the world what this Portuguese team is capable of. like at the highest level of the world game,” Ronaldo told The Associated Press before launching his first NFT collection with crypto exchange giant Binance.

The collection will be available on Friday, just before the World Cup begins, and bidding prices for some of the soccer star-related collectibles will start at the equivalent of around $10,000. NFTs will feature seven animated figurines depicting Ronaldo from iconic moments in his life, from his upside-down bike goals to his childhood in Portugal.

Ronaldo usually attracts most of the attention whenever Portugal play, but this time he will attend the World Cup to share some of the spotlight with a talented group of players including Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix and Rafael Leao.

“I’m happy to see this generation of players thrive,” Ronaldo, 37, emailed the AP. “It’s hard to compare one generation to another. All the players who play for Portugal, past or present, have overcome a lot of difficulties to compete at the highest level.”

The only player older than Ronaldo in Portugal’s national team is veteran centre-back Pepe, who will attend his fourth World Cup.

Ronaldo, the all-time top scorer in international men’s football with 117 goals, helped Portugal win the 2016 European Championship and the 2019 Nations League inaugural tournament, but he still missed out. football’s biggest prize.

Portugal’s best performance in a tournament featuring Ronaldo was in 2006 in Germany, when the team reached the semi-finals. Portugal failed to make it past the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“Of course we are there to win and I believe we have the squad to do that,” Ronaldo said. “But then there are some top teams with world-class talent – so we have to focus, stay humble and go out there and show what we can do. The rest will follow. .”

For the first time in his career this season, Ronaldo suffered a setback at club level by not getting as many appearances as expected with Manchester United. He has ruled out the possibility that this will be his last tournament with Portugal, but said football will be fine after he and 35-year-old Lionel Messi – who can also attend the final World Cup with Argentina – retired from the international stage.

“There have always been and always will be top-class rising stars,” Ronaldo said. “I have no doubt that the World Cup will reveal the next generation of talent ready to change the game.”

Portugal will play their opening match of this year’s World Cup against Ghana on November 24, Uruguay and South Korea are also in Group H.

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