‘Unique’ Cristiano Ronaldo remains ‘very important’ to Portugal as Roberto Martinez hints at leading role for 38-year-old superstar

Ronaldo PortugalGetty
  • All-time great breaking more records
  • Still proving prolific for his country
  • New boss impressed by what he has seen

WHAT HAPPENED? A new era for the Portuguese national team got underway at the start of Euro 2024 qualification, with former Belgium boss Martinez inheriting the reins from Euro 2016-winning coach Fernando Santos. Ronaldo, who was benched at times during the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar, has extended his record-breaking international career to reach 198 caps for his country – while he also registered four goals across meetings with Liechtenstein and Luxembourg to further underline his value to the cause.

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WHAT THEY SAID: Martinez said after seeing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner bag a brace in a 6-0 mauling of Luxembourg: “Cristiano is a unique player in the world, with the highest number of international caps. The experience he has for the dressing room is very important. All players have an important role. The younger ones due to their willingness to play and players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Rui Patricio and Bernardo Silva bring experience. It's important to have a complete dressing room.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo posted his own message on social media after proving once again that age is no barrier to him, with the all-time great saying: “2 games, 2 wins! Objective accomplished. Happy to have contributed to this very positive start of our selection. Let's go!”


Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal goal Euro 2024 qualifierGetty

Roberto Martinez Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2023Getty

WHAT NEXT? Ronaldo is now plying his club trade in Saudi Arabia for Al-Nassr, having been released by Premier League giants Manchester United in November 2022, and he appears set to have an important part to play for Portugal heading forwards.