Cristiano Ronaldo waved off any discussion of his retirement as he plans to keep playing with Al-Nassr and Portugal through the 2026 World Cup. The Portuguese icon sees playing in the 2026 competition as a sendoff to his career. Ronaldo is one of six players to have played in five World Cups. He would, along with potentially Lionel Messi, break that record if he plays in the 2026 World Cup.
According to Saudi journalist Ali Al-Harabi, Ronaldo is going to sign a contract extension with Al-Nassr that runs into the 2026/27 season. Posting on X, Al-Harabi said Ronaldo wants to play in the World Cup as a player for Al-Nassr. After that, he will announce his retirement from professional soccer.
Ronaldo has been the star of the Saudi Pro League both on and off the pitch. He led the grand movement of players from Europe out to the Middle East. Then, on the field, Ronaldo has played in 30 games with Al-Nassr. In those games, he has 25 goals and eight assists. That performance, and his stature in the world of soccer, has been enough for him to keep his status in the Portugal squad. He will feature in the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Slovakia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Portugal benefits from having Ronaldo in the squad. However, at the 2022 World Cup, the star lost his spot to Goncalo Ramos during the group stage. He did make a substitute appearance in Portugal’s elimination against Morocco in the quarterfinals. Still, there are young options that may develop for Portugal by the time the 2026 World Cup rolls around.
Ronaldo would be 41 by the 2026 World Cup
If Ronaldo does play for Portugal in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026, he would set records. Ronaldo would be the oldest player from Europe to ever play in a World Cup if he does reach the tournament. Only Roger Milla would be an older outfield player. The two oldest players in World Cup history are both goalkeepers.
Of course, this is also a major boost for the Saudi Pro League. Despite his age, Ronaldo still has one of the biggest pulls in the world of soccer. The Saudi Pro League has tied down TV rights deals with worldwide broadcasters, and Ronaldo’s presence plays a key role in that.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Power Sports Images
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