Wednesday July 17, 2024

Portugal's selfie-king setting new records in new role

Published : 24 Jun 2024, 00:24

  By Oliver Trust, Xinhua
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal competes during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group F match between Portugal and Türkiye in Dortmund, Germany on June 22, 2024. Photo: Xinhua.

Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo seems to enjoy every moment in non-public training sessions. Reports say the 39-year-old in a good mood, joking with teammates and occasionally fooling around like a youthful upstart.

Acting off observers' radar has become a rare pleasure for the Euro 2016 winner at Euro 2024, his record sixth European Championships.

In addition to his record-setting 27 Euro games and 14 goals, against Turkey on Saturday, he added a record as he became the player with the most assists (8).

Portugal's base camp in the town of Harsewinkel, northeast of Dortmund, seems under constant siege. It is more than a bold guess that it is because of him.

Heaps of fans gather to catch a glimpse of Ronaldo. The hype doesn't seem to end, as dozens of streakers tried to invade the training pitch at an open training session.

In the Dortmund Arena, a 10-year-old boy managed to reach Ronaldo during the game against Turkey. Smiling, the forward posed for a quick selfie, while tens of thousands of fans of both outfits on the stands cheered him for his empathic actions.

That time, the 3-0 lead had already secured the country's progression to the last 16, and Ronaldo received a flood of appreciation for acting as a team player when passing the ball to Bruno Fernandes to score Portugal's third, instead of trying for goal himself.

Ronaldo's role and attitude have changed with his growing age, media commentators now assume. The player once regarded as stubborn and obdurate is showing signs of mellowing with age, and Portugal's dependence on him has decreased, some say.

Fernandes praised his teammate for his actions "as he is our best scorer, but he passed the ball. That shows how much victories mean to us as a team, they mean more than scoring a goal."

As it seems, Ronaldo has found his new role in the autumn of his career in the national team after 209 games and 130 goals for Portugal.