Cristiano Ronaldo relishes ‘beautiful moment’ with new World Cup record

Cristiano Ronaldo FIFA World Cup Portugal

Portugal’s No. 07 striker Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal from the penalty spot during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group H soccer match between Portugal and Ghana at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 24, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP)

DOHA-Cristiano Ronaldo said he is living a “beautiful moment” after becoming the first player to score in five Men’s World Cups as he helped Portugal to a 3-2 win over Ghana on Thursday as began their campaign in Qatar.

“It was a beautiful moment in my fifth World Cup,” Ronaldo told reporters. “We won. We started on a good foot. It was a very important win. We know in these competitions the first match is fundamental.

“It’s also a record,” he said. “That makes me very proud. I am very happy that the whole team performed well. It was difficult but we deserved to win.”

Asked about his bitter departure from Manchester United this week, Ronaldo said the only thing that counts was Portugal’s win. “All the rest, it doesn’t matter,” he added.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos praises his 37-year-old captain won a penalty in the second half and converted himself into the opener against Ghana.

“I think Cristiano is a phenomenon, a legend,” Santos told reporters. “In 50 years, we will still be talking about him.”

Ronaldo was substituted in the 88th minute in a boisterous reception around the 974 Stadium in Doha at the start of what could be his last World Cup.

Santos rejected a suggestion from Ghanaian opposite Otto Addo that the penalty decision was incorrect – came after a shove by defender Mohammed Salisu – and should have been reviewed by American referee Ismail Elfath through the VAR system.

“If VAR tells the referee he has to watch, then he will,” he said. “If VAR doesn’t summon the referee, it’s because they’ve seen the pictures and have nothing to see.”

Santos, who has coached Portugal since 2014 and who led them to the 2016 European Championship title, said Portugal had “up and down” in the game and he was not satisfied. when conceding two goals.

“Now we have to look at what happened to the players and react to it,” he said.

Portugal, top of Group H, face Uruguay – who drew 0-0 with South Korea on Thursday – in their next match on Monday.

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