Cristiano Ronaldo is desperate to play at the 2026 World Cup and is planning to delay his retirement until after the tournament.
The Al-Nassr forward, who will be 41 by the time the next World Cup rolls around, has informed both his club and his national team of his ambitious plans. Should he feature for Portugal at the tournament, which will be held in the US, Canada and Mexico, he will become the first man ever to play at six World Cups.
It's understood Ronaldo plans to extend his contract at Al-Nassr, which expires in a year-and-a-half, until 2027 in a bid to keep himself playing competitive football ahead of the international showpiece competition. The World Cup remains the one piece of major silverware the 38-year-old hasn't managed to get his hands on.
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In five attempts Ronaldo hasn't got beyond the semi-final stage – a feat he achieved in his very first tournament back in 2006. He also hasn't managed to score a single goal in eight knockout stage matches.
The Manchester United and Real Madrid legend was dropped from the starting XI mid-way through Portugal's 2022 World Cup campaign, and left the field in tears after his team was knocked out by Morocco in the quarter-final. Lionel Messi's Argentina went on to lift the trophy in Qatar, ending, in some peoples' eyes, the 'GOAT' debate once and for all.
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But Ronaldo has proven himself a genetic freak of nature and if anyone has the chance to end their World Cup hoodoo in their early-40s, it's him. The five-time Champions League winner has started all but one of the six matches under new Portugal manager Roberto Martinez, scoring five goals, suggesting his influence on the national team isn't as quite as diminished as it once appeared.
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He's also been in hot goalscoring form for Al-Nassr this season, having netted 17 goals in 17 games in all competitions so far. He also helped the Saudi Pro League side win the Arab Club Champions Cup in August, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Al-Hilal in the final.
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