The international soccer break will provide some much-needed respite for one player who has seen a club manager face the level of scrutiny normally associated with the boss of a team stuck at the bottom of the table and struggling to find a goal, let alone a win.
But when the player in question is the most famous on the planet and he plays for a team that has supporters from Los Angeles to Lagos, pressure is part and parcel of being Ronaldo and being the manager of Manchester United.
The Portuguese superstar will likely pick up his 183th cap for Portugal in Dublin against Ireland, and he will be looking to add to his almost unbelievable current total of 115 goals for his country. The most astonishing thing about those figures are that he seems to be getting more prolific on the international front in his mid-30s, with 36 goals in his last 35 appearances for his country.
According to Offers.Bet predictions, Ronaldo is also third favorite to win the Golden Boot at the Qatar World Cup when he will be 37-years-old (+1600), behind only Lionel Messi (+1100), Neymar and Antoine Griezmann (both +1200). And don’t rule out the 41-year-old Ronaldo to be still banging them in North America in 2026.
But despite the noise surrounding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future at Manchester United, the son of Madeira just continues scoring goals; while some people wonder when it will be time for him stop, Ronaldo just keeps working hard and producing the goods on the pitch.
“He has put every single ounce of energy and effort into becoming the player he is and has been, so he deserves every single little plaudit that he gets for his physical state,” said Solskjaer, who was his teammate during the Portugal international’s first spell at Old Trafford. “What’s more impressive is when you have achieved as much as he has, he’s still as hungry. His mentality is still absolutely spot-on and that’s a desire from inside that he’s going to keep going until his head says, ‘no, I’ve given everything now’.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he still played when he was 40, not at all, because of the way he looks after himself.”
That may come as a shock to Ronaldo, who appears to be planning to play beyond even that. At 36, most footballers would have decided they no longer have the drive for club soccer let alone the international game, but the goalscoring sensation is apparently eyeing the 2026 World Cup in North America, never mind next year’s event in Qatar.
Retirement is not even on the horizon for the player who returned to Old Trafford in the summer after 12 years away playing for Real Madrid and Juventus, and was promptly installed as favorite to top the Premier League scoring charts. He has since been usurped by Mo Salah (+100) in the betting for top league scorer in England, the Egyptian averaging about a goal every game he plays at present.
But Ronaldo remains a phenomenon of the sport, and don’t be surprised if he turns the table on Salah, with odds of +500 to be the top Premier League goalscorer likely to look a lot more attractive if Salah misses a number of games due to the Africa Cup on Nations early next year.