Cristiano Ronaldo vows to 'respect coach's decisions' at Euro 2024

  • Cristiano Ronaldo preparing for record sixth European Championship
  • Al Nassr forward fell out with ex-Portugal coach Fernando Santos in 2022
  • Admits that still playing for his country at the age of 39 is seen as a 'gift'
Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to bounce back after poor World Cup in 2022
Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to bounce back after poor World Cup in 2022 / Gualter Fatia/GettyImages

Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed to "respect the decisions" made by Portugal coach Roberto Martinez at Euro 2024, describing his continuing to represent his country at the age of 39 as a "gift".

Ronaldo has played 207 times for Portugal and scored 130 goals, both world records in men's international football, and will begin competing at the sixth European Championship of his illustrious career, also a record, in the coming days.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has managed to prolong his career by moving to Saudi Arabia, finding the net 50 times for Al Nassr during 2023/24 – his best single season tally for eight years since his peak at Real Madrid, albeit at a lower level.

Ronaldo has also scored 12 times in his last 11 games for Portugal since the start of 2023, including ten during Euro 2024 qualifying – one more than Kylian Mbappe and two more than Harry Kane. But he had a disappointing World Cup in 2022 when his fractious second exit from Manchester United was still raw, not completing 90 minutes even once and then benched for the knockout rounds.

Almost a year later, former Portugal coach Fernando Santos seemed to suggest a relationship that had spanned two decades by that point had broken down as a direct result of it.

"The most important thing is that I am well physically and psychologically," Ronaldo said ahead of Portugal's opening fixture against Czech Republic next Tuesday.

"I am prepared, I always prepare in the best way, I am 100% professional. I will be ready as always to help our country and respect the coach's decisions."

Cristiano Ronaldo, Roberto Martinez
Ronaldo doesn't want to fall out with Roberto Martinez / Gualter Fatia/GettyImages

Euro 2024 sweepstake. PLAY: Our Euro 2024 sweepstake (UK only). dark. Next

Ronaldo, who turns 40 early next year, already has one European Championship medal in his collection from 2016. But he is still dreaming about adding another.

"I know I don't have many years of football left," he explained. "It's a gift to play year after year, after 35. I'm 39 and every year is about enjoying [myself]. To score for the national team is special. The national team is the love of my life, winning the Euros would be a dream."

"For me, playing for the national team is a passion, a love," he said. "Any game is special, a European Championship is special, it will be my sixth, which is also a record. Playing in 2004, when I made my [Euros] debut, or today, the feeling is always of pride and passion. It doesn't get better than this."