This was supposed to be the important night for Portugal’s newest star, Joao Felix. He would take his first steps toward claiming the crown as his country’s most important footballer. The community who love their favorite team can book Portugal Euro Cup Tickets.
The only problem with that is that Cristiano Ronaldo is nowhere near ready to stand aside for his successor, whoever he might prove to be. Felix, the extraordinary 19-year-old forward, was making his Portugal debut in Porto’s Estadio do Dragao.
It was the Nations League semifinal against Swiss. The youngster made a little impact before being replaced by Goncalo Guedes on 70 minutes. Ronaldo, meanwhile, left the pitch having taken his international goal tally to 88. Ronaldo scored yet another hat trick.
His 53rd for club and country. His hat trick guides Portugal to a 3-1 victory. Portugal made a place in Nations League final against either England or the Netherlands in the same stadium.
“He is a genius, there are genius painters and genius sculptors, but he is a genius in football. Simply a genius. When a player scores three goals in a game, of course, he makes the difference.” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said of Ronaldo.
The young candidates come and go for Portugal, but Ronaldo remains the one continuous. What happens when Portugal has to find a way to win without him? He is 34 now, but against Switzerland, he showed everything that has made him such a great star. The goals, the passes and one blind pass to Felix in the first half were particularly stunning.
The beautiful stepovers were all there. One moment in the first half saw Ronaldo send Switzerland right-back Kevin Mbabu sliding in the wrong direction with a piece of whirlwind trickery on the ball. He topped his night by scoring his hat trick after another stepover shimmy before firing into Yann Sommer’s net.
This was the 10th international tournament graced by a Ronaldo goal, a sequence stretching back to Euro 2004. In Euro 2004 a teenage Ronaldo helped Portugal reach the final before losing to Greece. His 88 goals leave him within touching distance of becoming only the second footballer ever after Iran’s Ali Daei. Ronaldo can break the 100-goal barrier in international football.
Ronaldo has won his 157th Portugal cap against the Swiss. Ronaldo is now a simple 27 short of equaling the world record of Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan for international entrances. Few would bet against Ronaldo reaching both of those figures before he calls it a day with Portugal. Whenever that time arrives, it will be a terrible scenario for the Portuguese.
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