The announcement that Cristiano Ronaldo signed a contract with Al-Nassr and will play in Saudi Arabia from the turn of the year, made yesterday by the Spanish newspaper “Marca”, was the biggest moment experienced by the number 7 since the beginning of the World Cup.
Despite continuing to be Portugal’s number one and the main target of photographers whenever he goes to the field, the 37-year-old striker has already become, at least football-wise speaking, a mere supporting player in the selection led by Fernando Santos.
Few are those who bet that CR7 will play a decisive role in the match against Switzerland, today, starting at 4 pm (Brasília time), at the Nacional de Lusail stadium, which ends the round of 16 of Qatar-2022.
The Portuguese hopes of placing themselves among the eight best teams on the planet are now deposited much more on the back of names like Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), João Félix (Atlético de Madrid) and even reserve Rafael Leão (Milan).
Ronaldo even scored a goal at the World Cup (from the penalty spot, against Ghana, in the first round), but his performances in Qatar have been much more remembered for the missed opportunities, the lack of movement and the small participation in the collective game.
According to the website “WhoScored?”, which transforms game statistics into scores that evaluate the individual performance of athletes in the main competitions on the planet, CR7 is only the 17th best player in Portugal in the World Cup.
For the algorithms, Ronaldo’s performances in the first four Portuguese matches in the tournament earned an average score of 6.37. Among the 24 athletes used by Fernando Santos so far, only Danilo Pereira, António Silva, João Palhinha, João Mário, Matheus Nunes, Gonçalo Ramos and André Silva were worse.
As a comparison, Bruno Fernandes, who has two goals and two assists in Qatar-2022, has an average of 8.36. Full-backs Diogo Dalot and João Cancelo, as well as attacking midfielder Ricardo Horta, also have scores above 7.
This is CR7’s fifth career World Cup. Their best performance, as a collective, was achieved precisely at their debut. In Germany-2006, when he still had the company of Luís Figo and was trained by Luiz Felipe Scolari, he reached fourth place.
In all history, Portugal has never gone beyond the semifinals. To at least equal that feat, the Portuguese need to overthrow Switzerland and, at the weekend, defeat the winner of the match between Morocco and Spain, who are playing the other game today.
The Qatar Cup is the first to be held in the Middle East and features seven of the eight teams that have already lifted the cup. For the second consecutive edition, the four-time champion Italy failed to qualify and is low – in addition, Germany and Uruguay were eliminated in the first phase.
The tournament is being played at the end of the year, and not in its usual period (June and July), because of the heat in the host country during the height of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
This is the last edition of the FIFA competition with the format that has been used for 24 years, since France-1998. From the next World Cup, organized by the United States, Canada and Mexico, there will be 48 participants in the dispute for the title.
World Cup – Round of 16
03/12 – Netherlands 3 x 1 United States, Khalifa International, in Al-Rayyan
03/12 – Argentina 2 x 1 Australia, Ahmed bin Ali, in Al-Rayyan
04/12 – France 3 x 1 Poland, Al-Thumama, in Doha
04/12 – England 3 x 0 Senegal, Al-Bayt, Al-Khor
Yesterday – Japan 1 (1) x (3) 1 Croatia, Al-Janoub, Al-Wakrah
Yesterday – Brazil 4 x 1 South Korea, 974, Doha
Today at 12:00 – Morocco v Spain, Education City, Al-Rayyan
Today, at 16:00 – Portugal x Switzerland, Nacional de Lusail, Lusail
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