Is the 2022 Qatar World Cup Cristiano's final major championships?

It’s still not clear if Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Manchester United lies beyond January, but one thing that is clear is that the upcoming World Cup will surely be his last. As much as Ronaldo continues to astound us with his age-defying performances, surely even he can’t still be around and at the top of his game for the World Cup in 2026.

But can the great man still be around in 2024 for the next European Championships? Ronaldo will be 39 years old when UEFA Euro 2024 takes place in Germany, and whether at Manchester United or elsewhere, it would be foolish to bet against him lining up in Germany with his Portuguese teammates.

Reasons Ronaldo can play at Euro 2024

First things first, Ronaldo’s potential participation in Euro 2024 depends on Portugal qualifying. But assuming they do, let’s look at the reasons why he is likely to play.

First, he is just a supreme athlete who shows no sign of slowing down. Cristiano is still the model professional off the field, looking after his body in such a way that he has been able to keep playing to such a high level.

There are no doubt other people out there who do similar, but it’s hard to think of a player who looks after their body to such a high level as Ronaldo does.

The next reason that Ronaldo can make the 2024 Euros is that there isn’t anybody coming through that looks like they can take his place. As good as some of the emerging Portuguese youngsters are, none of them look anywhere near good enough to provide the attacking presence that Ronaldo does.

If Portugal had players of similar abilities to Ronaldo lining up to take his place, there could be a debate. But that isn’t the case. And let’s face it, there isn’t going to be anybody that good coming through any time soon, as players of the quality of Ronaldo are rare.

Then there is also the issue that Ronaldo has earned the right to go out on his own terms. He may decide the World Cup is the end of his line with Portugal, especially if they manage to win it. This isn’t out of the question, as Portugal are averaging around 14/1 to win the competition based on the bookmakers listed as sites such as Punters Page, where you can find more on World Cup best odds, including numerous markets. This puts Portugal in the top 9 sides in the betting to win the tournament with the bookmakers.

Reasons Ronaldo might not go to Euro 2024

As alluded to, Ronaldo may retire from international football after the World Cup. He’s already won a European Championships (in 2016), and he may decide that quitting international football could help prolong his club career.

Such a move would allow him to focus solely on domestic competitions and reduce competitive minutes. If he is also willing to continue his reduce role at United then it could be a great fit for him as Erik ten Hag has found a way to win without him. This would also help repair his reputation at the club which has taken a hit in 2022 due to his – supposed – behind the scenes attempts to force a move away last summer among other things.

Either way, the decision to carry on playing will be down to Ronaldo, that’s for sure.

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By RedManc

RedMancunian is the number one source for Manchester United news, insight and opinion on the most successful football club in the English top flight. RedMancunian was founded at the end of the 2011/2012 football season. We hope to provide insight on football matters related to Manchester United and provides a sense of what the club was and is all about. Follow RedMancunian on Twitter - @RedMancunian