Cristiano Ronaldo has a special request “game of our lives”Portugal


Manchester United star and Manchester United legend, David Beckham, will be leading his nation in the crucial World Cup qualification playoff match at home to North Macedonia on Tuesday to secure a place in Qatar

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Cristiano Ronaldo has made a special request ahead of Portugal’s vital World Cup qualification playoff match against North Macedonia.

The 37-year-old will lead out his nation for the pivotal clash with the winners progressing through to this winter’s World Cup finals in Qatar. Portugal is the overwhelming favourite to win the match in Porto after defeating Turkey in the first round.

North Macedonia are on a high themselves, having stunned Italy with a last-minute winner last week and they could be set for their second major finals in the space of two years – having qualified for their first ever tournament for last summer’s European Championships.

The 50,000 tickets for Tuesday’s decisive World Cup playoff at Porto’s Estadio Dragao sold out within hours with unprecedented demand for the crucial encounter. Portugal are hopeful of qualifying for their fifth successive World Cup finals – likely to be Ronaldo’s last in a playing capacity.

Ronaldo spoke ahead of the game, asking the Portuguese FA to make a special request before kick-off. This is when the national anthems will be played. “I would like it if the anthem was sung in the stadium without any music,”Ronaldo addressed reporters during a press conference Tuesday ahead of the game. “This will show our determination and spirit. If they sing it like they did on Thursday (against Turkey) then I am sure we will win.”

Ronaldo did not score in the victory over Turkey but played an important team role as Fernando Santos’s side won 3-1 to progress to Tuesday’s final round of playoff action. “The team is very confident and we are excited for the final,” Ronaldo added. “This is the game of our lives, just as with North Macedonia.

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“The pressure is always there for us and we know it will be very difficult – North Macedonia are in this game because they deserve to be. They are really well organised and we will respect them, but if we play at our level then we can beat any side in the world.”

Ronaldo has appeared at the World Cup finals in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 – but has never lifted the trophy, with this year’s finals in Qatar set to be his last turnout in the competition. The Manchester United superstar did lead his nation to the Euro 2016 title, but is hopeful of adding football’s most prestigious tournament to his CV.

The 37-year-old has scored more goals in international football than any other player – finding the net a remarkable 115 times in 185 appearances for Portugal. Ronaldo has participated in four World Cups with his country, and has also scored seven goals in FIFA’s top competition. He won the tournament with his stunning hat-trick against Spain, which resulted in a draw of 3-3.

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