CRISTIANO RONALDO is considered one of the best footballers in the world, having won several titles and six Ballon D’Or awards.
The Portuguese captain expects the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be the last of his long career – we take a look back at Ronaldo’s first-ever World Cup.
When was Cristiano Ronaldo’s first World Cup?
Cristiano Ronaldo was just 21 years old when on June 11, 2006, in Germany, he made his debut in what is considered the biggest football tournament in the world.
Portuguese legend Luis Figo was leading the team as they entered the group stage having to face Angola, Iran and Mexico.
Cristiano Ronaldo was wearing the number 17 at that time and already had eyes on him from his breakthrough in the Premier League with Manchester United.
Referee Jorge Larrionda from Uruguay kicked off the match and Ronaldo suffered a yellow card on his debut in the 26th minute.
After an hour of game time, Luiz Felipe Scolari decided to take him off and bring Costinha in.
Not the best start for Ronaldo, however, the best was yet to come.
Did Ronaldo score in his first World Cup?
Up next was Iran and Ronaldo made history by becoming the youngest Portuguese player to ever score in a World Cup at 21 years and 132 days.
In the 80th minute, he converted a penalty into a goal to extend Portugal’s lead to 2-0 and earn them another three points in Group D.
Ronaldo didn’t play the final group match against Mexico, as Portugal topped the group with three wins.
Portugal beat the Netherlands to make it to the quarter-finals and face England.
The match finished in a 0-0 draw at 90 minutes and went all the way to penalties.
Ronaldo secured his country a place in the 2006 World Cup semi-finals as he scored the winning penalty and sent the English home.
Portugal would go on to finish fourth that year, as they lost out to finalists France and then to Germany in the game for third place.
How many World Cup’s has Cristiano Ronaldo played in?
Ronaldo represented his country five times in the World Cup.
By 2010, he had inherited the number seven jersey and the captaincy moved forward to him from Figo.
He was Portugal’s best player, having won a Ballon D’Or, a Champions League title and made a move to La Liga club Real Madrid.
In Brazil four years later, Ronaldo didn’t have the best World Cup because of an injury he picked up before the tournament.
Despite his late winning goal against Ghana in the final group match, they still hadn’t earned enough points to progress and went home early.
Then came the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
At the time, Portugal were European Champions, having beaten France on their own turf in the EUROs final in 2016.
In the first match against Spain, Ronaldo became the oldest player to score a hat-trick in World Cup history.
On November 11, 2022, Ronaldo broke the records again after he became the first-ever player to score a goal in five consecutive World Cups.
Ronaldo scored the first goal in Portugal’s first match against Ghana from a penalty.