Given the physique he displays at 37, Cristiano must not taste beer very much. However, the pressure, he drinks it greedily, sporting deadline after sporting deadline, in club as in selection. And when it comes to facing Turkey on Thursday (8:45 p.m.) in the semi-finals of the qualifying play-offs for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the barometer is panicking.

The Portuguese people are once again counting on their indestructible captain to bring the Seleçao to the World Cup, most likely the last of his career. The kind of context that pushes him to perform at the highest level. But in case of defeat, will "CR7" stop on a failure? A GLOBAL HONOR LOOK TO BE SEARCHED Cristiano Ronaldo declared himself "totally" focused, in order to "put Portugal back in its rightful place". Since the resounding feat of Euro 2016, Fernando Santos' men have neither shone in the game, nor passed the round of 16 of an international competition (excluding the League of Nations). Leaving on a series of bad marks in selection, culminating in a non-participation in the World Cup (Portugal has been in all competitions since Euro 2000) would be harmful for a player of the Mancunian ilk . This kind of champion, with an almost immaculate track record, obsessed with records and titles, cannot imagine going out the back door. And if the native of Madeira does get a ticket for a last World Cup, it will serve his selection as much as his own story. Because he deserves it, his baroud, with the spotlight of the entire football planet on him for a last world tournament. A story around a career, it is written. And it takes a good fall. It is also, in part, for this reason that he returned to Manchester United. And this fall is all the more beautiful to write that the context of these dams is somewhat "Ronaldesque". A SITUATION AS HE LOVES THEM Because the thrill rises in Portugal. Always a little higher along the spine of the Seleçao supporters, as the bad news falls. For several weeks, the packages are linked. That of Renato Sanches first, then Ruben Dias, Pepe Monday, and Ruben Neves and Anthony Lopes have since closed the march. "We should not give too much importance to those who are not there. (...) We have confidence in all those who have been called to replace them", tempered Diogo Jota in a press conference. But the defensive sector took a hit. Portuguese journalists know it, supporters too. And it is with this reduced squad that the Lusitanians will have to get rid of Turkey then the winner of North Macedonia - Italy (Thursday 8:45 p.m.). In this context, this tension then sets in before a major international event. In 90 minutes, a nation can turn into joy or deep disappointment. Blues fans old enough to remember 2010 and 2013, or old enough for 1993, know those moments all too well. Ronaldo loves them. "It would be very sad not to reach our goal, the World Cup. But I think we will be there," said the former Madrid player. He is confident, and for good reason.


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