As the dust settles and the weekend draws closer one there is one definitive fact: what is likely Cristiano Ronaldo’s last chance at an international title with Portugal, is also going to be one of his toughest.
At 31 years old Ronaldo enters into the finals tied with football legend (turned corrupt sheister) Michel Platini for 9 goals in Euro finals appearances.
He’s had previous chances, three in fact, and each has found away to slip away dramatically. His first finals loss at nineteen, came on Portuguese soil against upset victors Greece.
Although Portugal put forward a dominating performance in their group stage, Germany saw them out of the 2008 Euro tournament in the quarter-finals. And the 2012 Euro semi-finals were the dreaded ‘fifth kick’. Where Ronaldo opted to take the fifth kick hoping to cement a win for Portugal.
Unfortunately Spain took the game before it could ever reach the fifth PK leaving Ronaldo looking on.
But now he’s here, and the table is set, and he’s going to the final. The problem is, the final is against France, who have been nothing short of spectacular with their bevy of maturing talent from Dimitri Payet, Paul Pogba, and Antoine Griezmann. Home field advantage makes it clear the the stadium is going to be a sea of blue, and Portugual’s track record against France isn’t great.
The time is now though, Leo Messi and Argentina have flubbed their Copa America and a Portugal Euro 2016 poises Cristiano Ronaldo to take ahold of the Balon d’Or trophy once again if he proves that he can lead Portugal to the trophy, and hopefully break Platini’s record along the way.
It won’t be easy, but Ronaldo has always been eager for the spotlight of big games. This weekend will leave a mark on his legacy.