Forget Euro 2020, Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal are also capable of competing for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar according to the latest Eurosport x The Beautiful Game podcast.
Portugal returned to the country-hopping Euros as defending champions and opened their account with a 3-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday.
Ronaldo grabbed a brace to move onto 11 goals at the European Championships to move clear of France legend Michel Platini as the top scorer in the event’s history. Ronaldo has accumulated his haul across five tournaments while Platini scored his nine goals across just five games at Euro 84.
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Eurosport’s Pete Sharland joined TBG’s Dotun Abijoh and Justin Cole to salute the remarkable 36-year-old, who continues to prove age is just a number.
“Nowadays, the goalscoring isn’t really a surprise. It’s the fact that he’s still doing it, the longevity that he’s showing at 36 is just utterly remarkable,” said Sharland.
“The only thing I can really compare it to is Tom Brady in the NFL. I know Juventus had a really bad season but he was top scorer in Italy and now looks a really good bet to be top scorer in the Euros.”
While Portugal were surprise winners at Euro 2016, especially after they failed to win a game in the group stage, a repeat would not send shockwaves through the sport as a host of exciting stars have established themselves in national colours.
Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo have all forced their way into the Portugal setup – news that will undoubtedly delight Ronaldo ahead of Qatar 2022. That World Cup will take place from November 21 to December 18 next year due to the summer being unviable due to climate concerns.

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“He [Ronaldo] is realising now that a lot of these Portuguese players who we’ve been talking about for the last three-four years, this golden generation, they are really starting to come through,” Sharland continued.
“Any sort of idea about 2016 being the last hurrah for Portugal and Ronaldo is absolutely nonsense. I think this team is good enough to compete now and next year in Qatar. And a lot of these players are only going to get better, that’s the scary thing.
“And if Ronaldo keeps himself in the shape that he’s in, what change is there going to be between this year and next year in terms of his performance? He’s not going to get much slower, he’s lost a bit of pace obviously, but he’s completely reinvented himself to be one of the best penalty box poachers in the world.
“His game isn’t going to go anywhere else, he’s still got all the tools you need to be an elite goal scorer. It’s remarkable.”
Portugal are in the so-called Group of Death alongside France, Germany and Hungary at Euro 2020 - although they look strong contenders to qualify after Thursday's win, with four third-placed teams also progressing to the last 16 if it suddenly falls apart.
France beat Germany 1-0 in Munich on Thursday night.
“Ronaldo will want to be the best until he retires. It’s as simple as that,” added Abijoh.

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“He’s going to try to perform to the best level, he’s going to keep scoring goals. When I look at him, he still looks fast. The way he and [Lionel] Messi have changed the game in terms of goals and assists, making sure each season 40 goals. It’s so hard to do and for him to do that for so long shows you what greatness really is.
“These players that we’re hyping up. They might burst onto the scene and have one good season, but the difference between good and great is consistency and the one thing about Cristiano Ronaldo is he’s been consistent for over 10 years. And that’s what puts him up there as one of the greatest players to play the game.”
Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Juventus this summer, having failed to deliver a coveted Champions League title to Turin.

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