Cristiano Ronaldo Can Power Portugal to World Cup Glory

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2014

Associated Press

Cristiano Ronaldo broke another record on Wednesday by becoming his country's all-time top international goalscorer with 49 goals in 110 senior appearances.

Ronaldo scored twice in Portugal's 5-1 friendly win over Cameroon and speaking afterwards, to national broadcaster RTP, he played down the significance of his latest achievement:

I do not look to beat records

This happens naturally, with a lot of effort, dedication, with the excellent national team we have, a good coach.

I knew that sooner or later it was going to happen.

Despite his modesty on this occasion, there is surely one achievement he could not possibly play down were he to claim it.

If Ronaldo could lead his country to World Cup glory in Brazil this summer, he would become one of the indisputable all-time greats of the game.

According to Jose Mourinho, Ronaldo does not need a World Cup win to be considered a great of the game.

Speaking to Yahoo, the Chelsea boss said: "Ronaldo is great. I don't think he needs to be world champion with Portugal to be great."

Sang Tan/Associated Press

While that may well be true, it does not mean that the 29-year-old cannot be a World Cup winner.  

Received wisdom suggests that Portugal are on a similar level to England in terms of quality and are thus highly unlikely to win the World Cup.

However, with a player of the Real Madrid star's quality, anything is possible.

Ronaldo is the type of player who can beat teams on his own, as he displayed back in November when his stunning hat-trick sent Portugal to the World Cup at Sweden's expense.

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 02:  Cristiano Ronaldo (L) of Real Madrid CF beats Raul Garcia of Club Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF  at Vicente Calderon Stadium on March 2, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (P
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Equally impressive were his displays in Euro 2012 which saw Portugal reach the semi-finals only to be edged out on penalties by eventual champions, and 2010 World Cup winners, Spain. 

In the group stages of the same tournament a Ronaldo master-class saw Portugal defeat the Netherlands, the beaten finalists from the 2010 World Cup.

And Ronaldo is better now than he was in 2012. He is the current holder of the Ballon d'Or. He has scored 23 goals in 22 La Liga matches this season and 11 goals in six Champions League appearances, per ESPNFC.

The statistics are astonishing.

However, despite his abilities, the reason Portugal are rarely seen as legitimate contenders for the World Cup are because of the rest of the squad.

But there is quality there. Ronaldo only needs a little help to reach his full potential and the likes of Raul Meireles, Fabio Coentrao and Edinho, fellow goalscorers against Cameroon, do offer support when on form.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 15:  Fabio Coentrao of Portugal battles with Sebastian Larsson of Sweden during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Play-off First Leg between Portugal and Sweden at Estadio da Luz on November 15, 2013 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Phot
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Monaco's Joao Moutinho was a great help in Poland and Ukraine two years ago and if he finds that kind of form again Portugal could go far.

But the key is Ronaldo, Portugal will be looking for something special from him in every game they play in Brazil. If Ronaldo can see Portugal deep into the tournament, history could be made. 

There is certainly huge pressure on Ronaldo. But if anyone could power an un-fancied side to World Cup glory in the summer, it would be him.


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