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Al Nassr's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo in action during the Saudi Pro League football match against Al Ittihad at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh on May 27. Image Credit: AFP

Madrid: Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo has been a model of longevity for more than two decades in an outstanding career, breaking numerous records and playing for some of the biggest clubs in the world, and he will be determined to make his mark at Euro 2024.

His move away from the European elite to Saudi Arabia after a disappointing showing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which ended with Portugal’s shock 1-0 defeat by Morocco in the quarter-finals, has raised questions about whether the 39-year-old Ronaldo’s brilliant career is nearing an end.

However, he will be out to prove he can still make a difference at the highest level and will arrive in Germany for Euro 2024 as the trusted leader of a talented team under the guidance of former Belgium manager Roberto Martinez.

Among Ronaldo’s many achievements, he is the leading scorer in the history of men’s international football with 128 goals in 204 official matches.

Almost 20 years have passed between his first Portugal goal against Greece at Euro 2004 and his most recent versus Lichtenstein in November 2023 — with the nation’s 2016 Euros triumph the pinnacle of his international career.

Most goals

Ronaldo has scored 891 times in his career, holds the record for the most Champions League goals in the competition’s history with 140 and is the only player to have scored in five consecutive European Championship tournaments.

He will try to extend that record in Germany as he edges close to 900 goals, a number that could be within reach during the tournament. But his aim is much higher.

“It’s going to be quite difficult to reach 1,000 goals but it’s about how I am mentally, my motivation,” Ronaldo said after scoring twice against Slovakia.

“If, physically, my legs treat me as well as I treat them ... We’ll see. To get to 1,000, you have to get to 900 first. I think I’ll get there.” Having scored 10 goals in the last 12 games with Portugal and 42 in 41 matches with Al Nassr this season, Ronaldo’s relentless mentality could be the key to him making a statement with his country in Germany against all odds.