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Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo won't be just a 'guest' at 2022 World Cup & can still play 'at highest level', insists ex-Real Madrid team-mate Casillas

1:05 AM GMT+4 21/11/2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2022
Cristiano Ronaldo is a contender to win the Golden Boot at the World Cup and can still play at the highest level, says former team-mate Iker Casillas.
  • Ronaldo has disappointed at Man Utd
  • Portugal star crucial to World Cup hopes
  • Ex-Real Madrid co-star has backed him

WHAT HAPPENED? Ronaldo has faced a lot of criticism this season for his performances and behaviour at Manchester United, with questions now being asked over his future after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan. He has started just four of the 10 Premier League matches in which he has featured this term and scored only one goal, but Casillas insists he cannot be written off heading into the World Cup.

WHAT THEY SAID: Asked for his top candidates to win the Golden Boot in Qatar, Casillas tipped Lionel Messi and Neymar as options, before turning his attention to his ex-Real Madrid co-star. "It seems that Cristiano has come to the World Cup as a guest and people don't count on him because of all the trouble he has at Manchester United, but..." he said to Marca. "I do [have him as a contender]. When people talk about Cris they forget what he has done. Come on, he doesn't forget, because he knows what he's done. But I would always like him on my team. Cristiano still has the string to play at the highest level."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo, 37, could be playing at his last ever World Cup with Portugal this year. The attacker became the all-time top scorer in international football last year, having scored 117 times in 191 senior appearances, so the Portugal captain will be a pivotal part of his team's hopes in Qatar.

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WHAT NEXT FOR PORTUGAL? Ronaldo and his international team-mates begin their World Cup campaign on Thursday when they take on Ghana.