December 2022. What was supposed to be a month of dreams turned into a nightmare. Everything Cristiano Ronaldo had planned in his mind was shattered. The Qatar World Cup was probably the worst moment of his career.
For various reasons: his relationship with the national team, because it was the first time Portuguese fans openly criticized him, and because he was looking to leave Manchester United for a top club in Europe… and he didn’t succeed.
For the first time, Cristiano succumbed to psychological pressure. He doubted many things, including whether or not to continue with the national team, but the Portuguese managed to come out stronger from one of the worst moments of his sporting life.
The more ‘human’ Cristiano
The former Sporting, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus player found solace in his family and became more ‘human’. After the World Cup, he admitted that many times, when you are at the top, you are unaware of reality. Now he seems happier and enjoys life without pressure or suffering.
His move to Al-Nassr provided him with what he needed: playing for pleasure and being able to be happy again in a phase of his career where his on-field characteristics are no longer the same as they were 10 years ago. Some things haven’t changed: he still works hard, his physicality still responds, and he hasn’t lost his goal-scoring ability.
“He is a different person”
Cristiano Ronaldo rarely attended press conferences. He avoided contact with the media. All of that has changed: now he speaks at every Portugal gathering, is available in mixed zones, and is friendly with the press.
Those closest to him say he is a different person. He is very approachable to everyone and has become a role model on the field. CR7 has understood that the game doesn’t always have to revolve around him. He is there to help and do what he does best: score goals.
Cristiano has scored in almost four out of the five games played. The former Real Madrid player is experiencing new sensations in countries he had never visited before, such as Iran, where he received a head of state reception for an Asian Champions League match.
Thousands of fans followed his every move from the airport to the hotel, and even on the team bus. In fact, he had to come out to the window at night and ask them to stop the celebration because he needed rest. He also showed his more humane and affectionate side: he privately met with a child and a disabled artist.
Playing for pleasure
Now CR7 continues to enjoy the game without as much pressure and closer to the people. It is the best possible ending to his 20-year career. He feels good and wants to move forward without thinking too much about the distant future. His main goal is to be 100% ready for Euro 2024, but those of us who have followed him closely know that he also has one eye on the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.