After a bombshell interview with Piers Morgan, a public fallout with Manchester United, and a World Cup hype campaign like no other, expectations from Cristiano Ronaldo’s 5th appearance in the tournament were colossally high.
Many presumed that the 2022 edition of the World Cup would be the 37-year-old’s final shot at winning the prestigious title, and a number of fans even had Portugal as favorites.
Every aspect seemed to line up perfectly, from the overarching Ronaldo narrative to the massively talented names in the Portuguese squad, it really seemed like World Cup glory was headed the forward’s way.
But while fans were busy fantasizing about a potential Messi v Ronaldo showdown for the final, the Atlas Lions crept up from out of nowhere and seized the occasion.
Youssef En-Nesyri’s leaping header in the first half proved to be enough to pulverize Portuguese dreams and create history with Morocco in the process.
While the African nation’s joyous celebrations were a sight to behold, the utter devastation on Ronaldo’s face remained the image of the historic night.
Seeing the legendary footballer in such a distraught state led to speculation that Ronaldo’s International retirement would be imminent.
As of right now, however, there is still no official word on any such announcement, at least from the player himself.
In contrast, his family have been pretty vocal with their emotions following Portugal’s World Cup exit, with his usually animated sister Katia Aveiro leading the charge.
Aside from penning a heartfelt letter for his brother, she also hinted at the possibility of Ronaldo returning for the 2026 World Cup.
Alluding to his age by the time 2026 will roll around, she said ’41 is the prime of life’ through an Instagram story.
Unfortunately, she made a slight miscalculation that fans online were all too happy to point out, and the error has to do with the venue of the 2026 World Cup – North America.
Should the forward tag along with Portugal for the next World Cup, he will likely face a stubborn roadblock, known to many as the USA.
The nation will host many games of the 2026 World Cup, something which certainly doesn’t bode well for Ronaldo.
The issue he could possibly encounter relate to the rape allegations placed on him by model Kathryn Mayorga, for an incident dating back to 2009.
For the uninitiated, the allegations by the model state that Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.
She even went forward with a legal bid despite being paid $375,000 in an out-of-court settlement, one which was ultimately dismissed by a US court.
While the investigation remains inactive for the time being, there remains the possibility that Ronaldo could be detained for questioning if he sets foot in the country.
Owing to the severity of the situation, the 37-year-old has shied away from travelling to the country since the case’s reopening, and this obviously creates quite the conundrum for any future World Cup aspirations.
In pointing out the possibility of her brother playing another World Cup, Katia Aveiro briefly reignited the controversial story.
Needless to say, her efforts backfired big time.